“To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.” –Johannes A. Gaertner
Another way to practice mindfulness is through intentional gratitude. In the same way that paying mindful attention expands our perceptions and broadens our minds, the work of noticing and recording moments of deep gratitude broadens and expands our hearts. By naming the gifts of our lives, we encourage our awareness of goodness to spread out and occupy a greater part of who we are. Through expanding our capacity for gratitude, we make more room for whatever else we choose to focus on. Expanding awareness prepares you for greater potential.
I am finally feeling ready for the next big step in my positivity quest: the gratitude diary. It feels like a big leap from the wristband method, which I have been practicing since day 8. This new step takes the big leap from watching for negative remarks to generating and recording a world of recognized gifts. I have been noticing the gifts more and more as I have loosened the stranglehold of my negative thinking, but committing myself to daily records of the goodness that makes up my life will have dramatic results, I think.
A study from the UC Davis psychology labs, researchers are engaged in a long-term project to lift gratitude from the forgotten factor to one of the foundations of positivity research and its consequences on health and well-being. Religious practices and eastern philosophies have long embraced gratitude as an essential aspect of love and goodness. It has also been associated with happiness, health and life integrity. The long-term research looks at methods to cultivate gratitude in daily life, assess its effects on vitality and also to reliably measure specific differences in individual experiences of gratitude.
As expected, keeping gratitude journals were associated with better health and greater optimism. Also people who recorded their gratitude made more progress toward reaching their goals. This might be because people who expanded their minds by recording their grateful moments were more alert, enthusiastic and attentive. Practicing gratitude raises your energy on all levels. We will keep looking at the benefits as the experiment goes.
So I bought this little, purse-size journal the other day, thinking I was ready to make this next leap; but until today, I just kind of looked at it, turned it over in my hands, but couldn’t quite get it open. Somehow, it felt intimidating to commit myself to focusing on the grateful moments. But then, one brief conversation made me realize I was ready. It was at my office, where we all teach each other what it means to work in a love business. “Are you ready to raise your vibration? Because it’s all just about where you are vibrating.” That was the second entry, after the one about my 13 year old son who told me on the way to school while trying to get me to listen to his rap music, “You know mom, the positivity quest is all about having an open mind.”
The question remains: “Do you fill up your gratitude diary, or does it fill you up?”