Gratitude is an integral part of a spiriual practice
"For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, for love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends."-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Experiencing and expressing gratitude is an important part of any spiritual practice. It opens the heart and activates positive emotion centers in the brain. Regular practice of gratitude can change the way our brain neurons fire into more positive automatic patterns. The positive emotions we evoke can soothe distress and broaden our thinking patterns so we develop a larger and more expansive view of our lives. Gratitude is an emotion of connectedness, which reminds us we are part of a larger universe with all living things. Below are some of my favorite quotes about gratitude to help inspire you and deepen your thinking about finding an enduring place for gratitude in your own life.
- "Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." - Marcel Proust
- "We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures." - Thornton Wilder
- As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy
- At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. Albert Schweitzer
- The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.
-- WIlliam James
- "Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough."
-- Oprah Winfrey
- He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has." - Epictetus
How to Bring Gratitude into Your Life
To begin bringing gratitude into your life, you can deliberately meditate on all the things in your own life that help you or give you pleasure. You can also write a gratitude diary, posting pictures and writing about the things you feel grateful for each day. The holidays are a great time to express your gratitude to friends and family by writing cards and exchanging thoughtful, personal gifts. Baking cookies for neighbors or sharing food with the poor are other ways to express appreciation for the abundance of food that we have in this country. Gratitude can lead to feelings of love, appreciation, generosity, and compassion, which further open our hearts and help rewire our brains to fire in more positive ways.
About The Author
Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, life coach, and expert on life change, health psychology, integrative & behavioral medicine, chronic stress and pain, who has published her own research in academic journals. Previously a Professor, she is now an influential practicing psychologist, speaker, and media consultant.
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