What is gratitude?
One answer is that it's a pleasant emotion...
Another would answer that it's a state of mind of appreciation, and...
Yet another would say that it's the one of the “highest frequency” emotions that we have on our emotional scale. [See my article “How to Develop Gratitude” if you're not familiar with the scale of emotions.]
According to Wikipedia, it is: “a feeling, emotion or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive.”
Any way you put it, having an attitude of gratitude is beneficial on a great many levels, both for you and others around you.
One of the greatest benefits of gratitude is how your body uses the power of gratitude in a physical manner and “emits” it using one of your main organs – your heart.
In fact, it's been found that when a person is in a state of “gratitude attitude,” in one room, another person in the next room could have physical benefit from the “biomagnetic field” that the gratitude person's heart is sending out.
Since I've already written an article about this fascinating subject, go ahead and click here to read my “As We Express Our Gratitude, We Change the World Around Us" article. After you're done, click the back button and I'll be here waiting to resume our discussion...
Now that you know the “why” you want to help your heart become grateful, let's discuss one of the best gratitude training methods to use when you're beginning to learn how to develop gratitude – which is to keep a list of things you appreciate.
Why do I consider this one of the key gratitude lessons you can give yourself?
Because the more you focus your mind to look at the positive things in your life, the more your brain and body get “addicted to” looking at the positive things in life.
Simply put, if you can create the habit..
And the key part here is in the “creating the habit...”
If you can create the habit of being grateful for everything around you, you're physically altering how your mind works. It's been proven in the field of positive psychology that a mind “kept positive” works in new and [better] ways.
One way is that it builds new neural pathways which support the new thoughts and it builds these pathways faster than a mind that is "not-so-positive."
Once you get into the habit of focusing your mind on the positive things in your life, another interesting thing happens and that is that your body gets addicted to the positive brain chemicals that are being produced by your gratitude attitude.
In the realm of gratitude lessons, you're actually getting help from your body to do “your homework” in the background when you're not even thinking about being grateful because it's thinking of ways to keep you grateful.
I've written an article that explains this “addictive process” more completely which
can be found by clicking here to go to that article. After your done, I'll be here waiting...
When I looked around for ideas for this article, I found a lot of articles about gratitude that had lots of advice about things to be grateful for, but these lists contained things that weren't necessarily “at the heart of your life.”
For example, one list showed things such as:
While this list offered a multitude of ideas, I'd like to take it one step further so you can get the emotional feeling for the things you include on your list.
One of the key parts of practicing an grateful attitude is to visualize specific situations so you feel the feeling of gratefulness. For example, on the list above, it suggests that you include “bones for the dog” on your list. So, visualizing giving your dog bones would be a nice start, but...
While your dog may appreciate the bones, you don't necessarily appreciate the bones in the same manner. A better way to practice this particular suggestion would be to appreciate the fact that you've made your dog happy and feel those emotions.
Now, you should have an emotional charge associated with “bones for the dog” and something to be grateful for that applies directly to you.
The best way to use a gratitude list for gratitude training is to start with things that are directly associated with your everyday life and to keep these things simple.
For example, when you wake up, you can be appreciative that you have a warm bed, and as you go through your morning events, you can train your mind to appreciate the fact that you have a job, an income, food in the refrigerator and even the refrigerator itself!
By doing this on a moment to moment basis – rather than sitting down and making out a long list that you have to remember and recite – you create the HABIT of being grateful.
Once you create the habit, you've set your mind and body up to continually find things to be grateful for and you can then easily find that everything in your life can be on your list, without thinking about actually sitting down and drumming up a gratitude list!
And all you've done is taken the concept of doing a list and transitioned it into keeping a running log in your head of things to be grateful for on a moment to moment basis.
This is how to use a gratitude list as the best gratitude training you can find.
For more on gratitude lessons and how to develop gratitude, here's a great article:
How to Develop Gratitude: Tools to Work Up the Emotional Scale
Learning how to develop gratitude when you're fixed in a mode of depression is easier to do when you understand that if you can maintain an attitude of gratitude long enough, you'll gently...
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