Stepping into your Superpower
In my last blog (the 3am Hamster Wheel) I talked briefly about gratitude. Well here’s some of the latest research on this practice, which has been with us since the beginning of time and is encouraged by all major religions – among them Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Islam. Yet gratitude does not come easily to us and is not supported by how we live in modern society which focuses so much more on what we lack, what’s not good enough, how we’re not good enough, the harshness of the world and the current economic climate, the daily tragedies around us and how it’s a struggle to survive and to get through every day.
There is so much gratitude research being done at the moment. Prof Robert Emmons at the University of California, is the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude. His studies, and those of many others too, are showing that people can increase their levels of happiness by up to 25%, sometimes in just a couple of weeks, by keeping a daily gratitude journal! This is EXTRAORDINARY! That’s much more than a new car, a promotion at work or even a great holiday can do for us on an ongoing basis. These studies have been repeated in school environments too, and children and teens have been found to have less anxiety and negative emotions surrounding school, and have more positive emotions, more happiness and more life satisfaction – which is what I think we all wish for our children.
Gratitude research has also shown that people who practice regular gratitude have stronger immune systems, are less bothered by aches and pains, have lower blood pressure, sleep longer and feel more refreshed on waking, exercise more and take better care of their health, experience more joy, pleasure, optimism, generosity, compassion, forgiveness and are less lonely and isolated.
Gratitude expands our awareness, our happiness and our sense of hopefulness by recognising the blessings that we already have in our lives. It is an affirmation of goodness, a focus on abundance. Gratitude certainly doesn’t negate the difficulties in life, the tragic losses, the challenging times, but it helps us to feel supported during those times. It gives us a sense of hope and allows us to acknowledge that there are sources beyond ourselves that give to us and by which we are supported, and that these blessings are not dependent on anything we may have done to deserve the gift.
In fact, it turns out, as Oprah Winfrey says, that “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate”.
So please join me in celebrating our lives and our blessings. Every day until the next blog in 2 weeks I will be posting on Facebook and Instagram 5 things which I am grateful for that day. I will be focusing on the simple blessings. I encourage you to do the same – online with me, out loud at home, in a gratitude journal, in the car with your kids on the way to school. Please encourage your family and children to do the same – it quite possibly is the most important thing that you can teach your children! We’ll see how we feel in 2 weeks’ time!
Gratitude has been scientifically proven to have the power to heal, to energise and to change our lives. It literally is a Superpower! Let’s harness it in our Mindful Living!
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