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The Gifts of Gratitude

Jennifer Mulholland
November 2, 2016

The month of November is marked by one of our favorite holidays, Thanksgiving. It is a day surrounded by family, food, and friendships that nourish my body, mind, and spirit. It is a holiday with no presents or material gift exchange but rather one with a deliberate focus on gratitude that extends far beyond the feast. Thankfulness and generosity make up this holiday experience, and invite us to have a mindset of gratitude and giving throughout each day of the year.

And while certain holidays or moments can inspire us to be grateful and kind, it is important to remember that gratitude is a positive force, within our control, a daily practice we can choose to participate in. A practice that has been proven to increase our health, happiness and wellbeing. 

Extensive research such as the scientific study by Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough, demonstrates that being thankful improves our physical, mental and emotional health, relationships, careers, and overall success in life. 

Gratitude brings happiness. Practicing gratitude has proven to be one of the most reliable methods for increasing happiness and life satisfaction; it also boosts feelings of optimism, joy, pleasure, enthusiasm, and other positive emotions. On the flip side, gratitude also reduces anxiety and depression.

Gratitude is good for our bodies. Gratitude strengthens the immune system, lowers blood pressure, reduces symptoms of illness, and makes us less bothered by aches and pains. It also encourages us to exercise more and take better care of our health.

Gratitude strengthens relationships. It makes us feel closer and more committed to friends and family. When loved ones feel and express gratitude for each other, they each become more satisfied with their relationships. Gratitude also encourages a more equitable division of labor in relationships.

Gratitude makes you a more effective manager. It helps you network, increases your decision-making capabilities, increases your productivity, and helps you get mentors and protégés. As a result, gratitude helps you achieve your career goals, as well as making your workplace a more friendly and enjoyable place to be.

Gratitude brings rest. Grateful people get more hours of sleep each night, spend less time awake before falling asleep, and feel more refreshed upon awakening. If you want to sleep more soundly, count blessings, not sheep.”

Gratitude calls forth a deep appreciation for what exists, what we have, and who we are. The more we focus on the blessings of our lives, from the mundane to the profound, the more we have to be grateful for. It is a fascinating phenomenon and one that supports the idea that "like attracts like." Despite the evidence of how beneficial an attitude of gratitude is, do we really know how to practice it? Do we really know how to receive?  As a mother, wife, co-leader, entrepreneur, executive, etc, I've certainly had way more practice giving than receiving.  You can learn 3 Steps to Receiving here

Becoming more aware of your state of gratitude can be helpful to improving it. Check out one of these 7 Gratitude Questionnaires that Scientists Use to shine a light on your thankfulness. You might be pleasantly surprised how easy it is for you to increase it. And, the more you increase your gratitude, the more you'll have to be grateful for.  

Here at Plenty, we believe abundance, happiness, and fulfillment is our birthright. We practice being grateful to create this state of being for our loved ones, our teammates, our clients, our communities, and ourselves. We practice seeing, sensing, and soaking in the blessings that have been bestowed on us. We invite you to join the practice of gratitude by reflecting on these questions at the beginning or end of each day.

  • What do I have to be thankful for today?
  • What brought me happiness and joy?
  • What brought me connection today?
  • Where and how do I experience this gratitude?

There is plenty to be thankful for and we wish you a month filled with gratitude, abundance, and happiness.

Lantern: Leadership for Life

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