Living In Gratitude: Celebrate the Goodness

Brené Brown recently published Atlas of the Heart, a compendium of 87 key human emotions. Chapter 11 entitled Places We Go When Life Is Good, delves into a multitude of emotions, including joy, happiness, calm, contentment, and gratitude.

Besides being a best-selling author, Brené is a successful podcaster, professor, and lecturer. She is best known for her extensive research on shame, vulnerability, fear, and leadership, and she has an incredibly popular 2010 TED Talk on vulnerability. Her Netflix special, A Call to Courage, is also powerfully insightful. Both are worth watching.

Here’s what she has to say about gratitude in Atlas of the Heart:

“There is overwhelming evidence that gratitude is good for us physically, emotionally, and mentally. There’s research that shows that gratitude is correlated with better sleep, increased creativity, decreased entitlement, decreased hostility and aggression, increased decision-making skills, decreased blood pressure–the list goes on.”

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Living In Gratitude: Investing in Appreciation

When it comes to relationships, be it friends, coworkers, parents and children, siblings, life partners/spouses, and even the relationship with yourself, one ‘stock’ you should invest heavily in is appreciation. There truly is no such thing as expressing too much gratitude for the essential people in your life.

The greatest need of every human being is the need for appreciation.

~ Unknown

Sincere appreciation expressed in any relationship is equivalent to a substantial deposit into the bank account of that partnership. It builds wealth and a sturdy foundation. Along with attention and affection, it’s part of the trifecta for relating to others.

This wealth-building appreciation must be heartfelt. When gratitude comes from your heart, it opens you up to see and understand another person’s point of view, even when it is fundamentality different from your own. It is the kind of appreciation that notices another person’s strengths and acknowledges them out loud and with pride; the type of appreciation that’s built on respect and that treasure’s another person’s value and worth.

When we receive appreciation from someone, we are grateful, and we then sincerely appreciate them in return. That’s where the power and beauty of gratitude lies. That’s why appreciation can make all the difference between a relationship that’s withering and one that’s full of life.

When we give someone the gift of recognizing their strengths, it motivates them to live up to our positive perceptions. What you praise (from your heart!) grows.

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Living In Gratitude: 9 Rules To Live By

These “rules” are ones most of us need to be gently reminded of once in awhile.

Make peace with your past so it doesn’t affect your present. The only day you can change is today.

Time heals and reveals. Allow yourself space and grace to grieve, hurt, and discover the silver lining.

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Gratitude: Candy For Your Doctor? How Appreciation Changes The Interaction

Appreciation can be a kind of wake-up call. It can spark aliveness and connection in both the receiver and the giver. Below is a description of a study that utilized candy to measure the response of doctors.

I liked the idea and put my own version to work:

Recently I visited a new doctor for my annual check-up. Instead of candy, I brought with me, as a gift, one of the Gratitude Habitat bookmarks. Written on it is, “Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot.”  My appointment was at the end of the day. Dr. S. looked a bit tired. As I handed her the bookmark I simply said, “Thank you for the work you do.” She stopped, read it, took a breath and shared a story of how the day before, she told her ailing father how much she appreciated him and how important it was for him to be grateful, too. They talked about what they appreciated about each other and about life. She said that his spirit was lifted and his voice grew stronger. Her facial expression and voice tone were soft and open. Clearly a special moment was created.

My new doctor said to me, “This is a perfect gift for me. Thank you.”

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Gratitude To The People We Care About

Giving thanks. It’s easy to forget and it’s easy to take for granted those people in our lives who we truly care about. When we tune in and feel gratitude it opens our hearts and brings us to a plane where true joy happens.  The most important place to feel and express gratitude is in our most important relationships. Yet, often we take those relationships for granted. What would happen if we took a few minutes each day to give thanks to our partners, children, family? I think that a lot of insignificant gripes would drop away. Seeing and expressing gratitude has a way of moving us to step back, see the bigger picture and remind us what we really want. Open your heart. Give thanks. See what happens.

How would you like to show gratitude to the people you care about?