The Power of Expressing Gratitude

Being thankful and expressing gratitude has been likened to a powerful spiritual vitamin. Researchers find that the health benefits of appreciation and thankfulness  are many.

Having an attitude of gratitude as a way of life is good for your physical, emotional and mental health.

Just like happy people, those who make a habit of feeling grateful have lower stress hormone levels and more ability to resist viral infections. They exercise more, sleep better, live longer, have higher incomes and more satisfying relationships.

power of gratitude

Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude

Expressing gratitude as a way of life doesn't mean you have to feel happy about everything. It doesn't mean you wish nothing was different or do nothing to improve circumstances for yourself and others. It certainly doesn't mean you close your eyes to suffering and harmful situations or purposely create them.

Giving thanks does mean you accept yourself and where you are in the moment. It  means you open yourself to the present experiences of life even when they are painful or difficult.

Feeling and expressing gratitude allows your heart to open and receive a blessing where you thought no blessing could be found. It helps you move through difficulties with greater grace and ease.

When you align with source energy in this way you move out of the energy of resistance, or fight, and move into the energy of flow where you are more likely to receive inspiration and guidance. You can better see the help and support that is there for you.

How often have you heard people say that their cancer was their greatest blessing? Or that in retrospect, so-and-so leaving them was the best thing that ever happened to them? Sometimes we humans need a little push to move forward. Sometimes it hurts. But when we look back, it is often with gratefulness and a realization that things did work out for the best.

What if you have a decent life, but still don't feel like expressing gratitude?

What if you can only think about what you lack and still want, so you feel miserable?

Like many of us, you have been conditioned to want 'better' and more. You have been taught to never be satisfied. Not being satisfied equals not being happy. The trick is to feel grateful and satisfied even as you move forward to achieving what you want.

Think about it - why would God, the universe, Source, conspire to bring more blessings into your life when you aren't expressing gratitude for what has been provided for you already?

If a scientific approach is more your style, consider this:

Research shows that whatever you focus on strengthens its related neural pathways. If you focus on anger or lack or feeling sad, you build those pathways. Likewise, if you focus on expressing gratitude, love, peace and wholeness, you strengthen those pathways.

In this regard, science has validated this working of the Law of Attraction right inside your own head.

To create more joy and inner peace in your heart and mind, put the power of gratitude to work for you. Add some of these practices to your life:

  • Establish a daily habit of expressing words of gratitude. Offer heartfelt prayers of appreciation for what you have. Be thankful for your health, your car, or your food and clothing. Marvel at a sunset or a sleeping baby. Thank the clerk who stands for hours to check you out of the store.
being thankful
  • Practice being thankful for big and little things, even if what you have appears less than 'good'.

    Saying thank you for the mundane, and even some annoying or difficult circumstances instantly shifts your perspective and relieves stress.

  • Write a gratitude journal or make lists of all you are grateful for.

  • If visual reminders help you, post meaningful quotes or prayers about the power of gratitude where you are likely to see them. Or create your own. Read books, stories, psalms or other sacred writings of thanksgiving.

    "If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough." Meister Eckhart

  • Sing spiritual songs of thanksgiving.
  • Experience this short gratitude meditation with Deepak Chopra as he guides you to be mindful of all you have to be grateful for.
  • Look for the silver lining in the cloud. Do you ever have to react quickly because someone cuts in front of you in traffic? Yes, allow yourself a moment to react. Then switch to an attitude of gratitude for the fact that you are safe.Go a step further and say, "Thank you for all the safe drivers on the road with me. Thank you for the driver that just cut me off. Bless him/her and keep everyone around that car safe." I can almost guarantee that this will short-circuit the rush of negative emotions and harmful chemical shifts in your body and you'll feel better.Again, being thankful isn't a call to inaction. If someone is creating a dangerous situation, please dial for help. And offer thanks for the responders who keep the roads safe.
  • During those really low times, make a conscious effort to tap into the power of appreciation by naming at least five blessings in your life every day no matter how small. Yes, there are five things. Dig deep. Give thanks for breathing, your beating heart, food to eat, a friend, a chance to begin again. You may still feel sad or upset, yet you will notice a feeling of peace creeping in. Feel thankful that this too shall pass. Whenever you feel yourself sinking into the mire, turn on the power of gratitude. Say thank you for the situation even if you don't feel thankful. But be sincere. Tell yourself that a new day is coming. Look forward to it with a grateful heart.

Expressing gratitude is not a cure-all for all your ills, nor is it a ticket to getting what you want. It is a healing balm to your heart and to those you on its receiving end. Spoken or felt with sincerity thankfulness will raise your vibration and open you to new awareness and possibilities. Expressing gratitude may well be one of the most important things you can do for your health and happiness.

Your turn - With all the negativity in the world, it's nice to take a few moments to remember and share the good things of life. The Law of Resonance teaches that the energy we put out is the energy we attract and add to the collective consciousness. Share what you are thankful for and read stories here.

Return from the Power of Expressing Gratitude to Spiritual Wellness

Return to Holistic Mindbody Healing

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