For my first ever blog post, I have decided that gratitude is definitely my starting point, where it all begins. I have to admit that I have not always been the best at formally practicing gratitude, (ie. the "Gratitude Journal" that sat in the top drawer of my bedside table for 3 years), but as of recent, I have made the conscious effort to write down 3 things I am grateful for each morning. I have turned it into a routine... I sit at the breakfast table with a delicious cup of Colombian coffee, my toast and jam, and as I look out the window, I think about the 3 things I choose to be grateful for that day and journal them.
You see, most of the time, our minds settle into a default mode of focusing on the things we want, the things we need, the things we need to do, and the things we don't have, the polar opposite of gratitude. Our focus becomes overshadowed by our problems and often hijacked by the insurmountable to do list that continues to grow by the day. The field of Positive Psychology offers a promising perspective on our approach to living, thinking, and being. Research in Positive Psychology suggests that up to 40% of our personal happiness is a choice. That said, the way we treat others, the way we treat ourselves, and the way we look at the world, are all choices. When a conscious effort is made to practice gratitude in our everyday lives, not only do we begin to appreciate the people, places, and things in our lives, we become happier, healthier, and more fulfilled than those who do not practice gratitude.
I am truly enjoying the daily practice of gratitude. My day begins with the simple acknowledgement of my many blessings. The practice couldn't be easier! I've decided to share the first few items on my list:
For more on Positive Psychology here are a few good reads:
The Happiness Advantage (Sean Achor)
Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier (Robert Emmons)
Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment (Martin Seligman)