The Power of Gratitude
Posted 6/29/2016 by UHBlog
Counting your blessings can reap dividends. That’s because gratitude can help you attain inner peace, contentment and more meaningful social relationships.
“Everyone has something to be grateful for, whether it’s their family’s love, the beauty of nature or a warm cup of coffee in the morning,” says life coach Suzette Williamson, MA, LPCC. “Scientific studies show that people who have a grateful outlook can quickly bounce back from adversity, have a stronger immune system, sleep better and are more energetic.”
According to Williamson, there are multiple benefits from practicing gratitude, including:
- Creating inner peace and contentment. “Feeling a sense of gratitude slows us down and puts us in a more responsive state,” she says. “It broadens and opens our lens to appreciate all the good things we normally take for granted. Gratitude begets gratefulness of everything and everyone around us.”
- Focusing on the positives. “It’s when you are feeling down that taking a moment to give thanks will do you the most good,” says Williamson. “Feeling grateful frees you from dwelling on past problems or future anxieties and helps to put you in the present moment.”
- Improving relationships. The simple act of saying “thank you” or offering a warm smile and eye contact to show your appreciation can be extremely powerful, she says.
“By expressing your gratitude to a person for her talents, contributions and actions, you positively impact her relationship with you,” Williamson says.
Learning to be grateful requires cultivating the skill. Here are five ways Williamson recommends to help you develop a sense of gratefulness:
- Keep a daily journal. Write down at least five things you are grateful for each day.
“They can be big things or little things – it doesn’t matter,” she says. “It is the act of acknowledging this beauty in your life that is important.”
- Write thank you notes. Write or email a personalized note thanking someone for an act of kindness performed for you or others.
“Keep a box of thank you notes handy so it is easy to express your appreciation,” says Williamson.
- Practice gratefulness meditation. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and linger on some positive aspect of the day.
“This method helps train the mind for more positivity and happiness,” she says. “Research shows that our thoughts have the power to change our brains. This daily exercise helps create new neural pathways and alter existing ones to train the brain to develop a more grateful outlook.”
- Take a gratitude nature walk. Walk outdoors and appreciate all the beauty around you, paying particular attention to all your senses.
- Volunteer. By reaching out to others, you’ll learn to be grateful for your ability to make a difference in other people’s lives and can share your abundance with others.
“As a life coach, I strongly advise people to pause, notice and give thanks to the people, situations and resources around us,” Williamson says.
Suzette Williamson, MA, LPCC is a resilience specialist and life coach at
UH Connor Integrative Health Network. You can
request an appointment with Williamson or any other UH Connor Integrative Health Network provider online.