Wednesday, March 15, 2017

g r a t i t u d e

Attention to gratitude might be a trendy thing, but I just finished reading, 'The Gratitude Diaries, How A Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life' by Janice Kaplan. I enjoyed her stories, studies, and interviews about the positive affect gratitude can make in your health, attitude, and life, as well as influence on others. It's a year-long project exploring and practicing gratitude.

I've tried gratitude practices in the past like noting one-to-three specific things from the day to be grateful for in a journal, and another time via email with a friend.

What I like about this book is how she made gratitude a lifestyle by daily actions. It can be retraining yourself to pay attention, notice and acknowledge the good, the blessings.  And learning to re-frame your responses when life hands you challenging or frustrating situations.

Clever planter!

I also like how she began the year by noticing and appreciating her husband each day. By stopping to appreciate things he did, and not taking anything for granted had a very positive influence on their marriage. Counselors confirmed practicing gratitude strengthened neural circuits for love and connection, like fitness strengthens your body. (note to self: good place to start.)

Of course it's easier to be grateful for nice people, good circumstances, favorable conditions.... but she also has examples of people going through loss and hardship, and how they still choose to be positive, and make the most of their lives.

 Being an impetus of appreciation and kindness, and helping others goes a long way. It is very reciprocal, usually you feel better in return, and those touched by gratitude tend to be pay-it-forward. Gratitude is an action.

Así es la vida.

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