The power of thank you

Im­prove your health and re­la­tion­ships and achieve your goals... with grat­i­tude

Spirit and Destiny - - Contents -

Prac­tis­ing grat­i­tude can trans­form your re­la­tion­ships and well­be­ing

From al­most the mo­ment we can talk, it’s drummed into us: ‘Don’t for­get to say thank you!’ But be­ing grate­ful is about much more than good man­ners. Be­cause an in­creas­ing amount of re­search sug­gests that be­ing truly thank­ful can win you new friends, im­prove your phys­i­cal and men­tal health, raise your self-es­teem, re­duce de­pres­sion and even help you sleep bet­ter.

Prac­tis­ing grat­i­tude isn’t just about say­ing ‘thanks’ when some­one does you a ser­vice. It’s about cul­ti­vat­ing a mean­ing­ful ap­pre­ci­a­tion of what you have, re­ally con­sid­er­ing the good things in your life and then ex­press­ing the pos­i­tive feel­ings you have about them.

The re­sult? In­creased lev­els of em­pa­thy and op­ti­mism, bet­ter re­la­tion­ships – and even a health­ier heart!

David Hamil­ton, sci­en­tist and au­thor of

I Heart Me, the Science of Self-love, is a ma­jor ad­vo­cate of the art of grat­i­tude.

‘For me it’s about recog­nis­ing things,’ he ex­plains. ‘Say­ing thanks for par­tic­u­lar peo­ple who are, or have been, in your life, for par­tic­u­lar events, things that you’re very sat­is­fied with or that you’re glad hap­pened. It’s an at­ti­tude of thank­ful­ness, of ap­pre­ci­a­tion. You hear peo­ple say­ing “an at­ti­tude of grat­i­tude”. And it is an at­ti­tude for me.’

We all have chal­lenges and it can be hard to feel blessed when it feels like life’s handed you a van load of lemons. But feel­ing grate­ful is a skill you can learn and it’s some­thing you can get bet­ter at.

‘It’s like any­thing,’ says David. ‘If you prac­tise reg­u­larly, you’ll get bet­ter at it.

‘It helps you to look at the world more pos­i­tively. As your mind scans through the land­scape of your day or your life, what grat­i­tude prac­tise does is help your mind set­tle on the light rather than the dark.’

Para­dox­i­cally, David also sug­gests that learn­ing to be truly con­tent with what you al­ready have, may ac­tu­ally be the best way to get what you want!

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