Practice Gratitude

Research on happiness suggests that practicing gratitude may be key.

Posted Sep 20, 2011

Much of the research on happiness suggests that practicing gratitude, e.g., being thankful, may be one of the keys to happiness.

As Rita Schiano in her new book, Live a Flourishing Life, points out, the words "gratitude" and "grace" share a common Latin origin, "gratis," meaning "pleasing" or "thankful." In other words, when you are in a deep state of gratitude, you may feel the presence of grace. As we become more mindful in the present moment, we begin to recognize the things around us that we may have taken for granted. For many of us it may require a financial disaster such as a hurricane or tornado to refocus our attention on what we have or had and have now lost.

Learning to practice gratitude is one of life's most valuable lessons. As Aristotle taught us, all virtues have value, and the virtue of gratitude helps to increase feelings of satisfaction with our lives and keeps us from falling in to the excess of a greedy or entitled frame of mind.

Rita points out some simple, yet powerful, ways to practice gratitude on a daily basis. Here are some of her suggestions.

1. Thank, separately, both the cashier and the bagger at the grocery store.

2. Send a handwritten thank you note when you receive a gift, no matter how small.

3. Make "thank you" a common phrase in your vocabulary.

4. Keep a Gratitude Journal. Each night, write one to three things for which you were grateful during the day.

Quoting Cicero, Ms. Schiano points out that gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others. To get started on your Gratitude Journal, download the pages provided below.

My Gratitude Journal

 

Date:___________________________ 

Today I am grateful for _______________________________________________

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Date:___________________________ 

Today I am grateful for _______________________________________________

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