Michele Waterman
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Getting Grateful is a Great Idea

Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.― Ralph Waldo Emerson

I certainly do not claim to be perfect about practicing gratitude daily. But after reading Eric Barker’s blog recently, I’ve gained a whole new level of excitement about why getting grateful is a great idea—for me and for you!

The latest advancements in neuroscience conclude that gratitude affects the brain biologically, boosting both dopamine and serotonin levels. Essentially, practicing gratitude not only makes us happier and improves our well being, but it reduces stress, depression, and anxiety. I don’t know about you, but I could definitely use some help in these areas from time to time.

Gratitude is not a new concept for me. I’ve been a part of 12-step recovery community for fifteen years, and members are encouraged to develop an attitude of gratitude. But the truth is, we really do need more that just an attitude adjustment. Like yoga, meditation, and exercise, we reap the benefits from developing a daily or regular practice.

There are so many different ways to make gratitude part of your daily life. Some people keep a gratitude journal and write in it daily. Some people write down 10 things they are grateful for every day. Some people make being grateful part of their meditation practice, visualizing the people, places, things, and experiences that they are grateful for. Some families make it a habit to talk about what they are grateful for each night at dinner.

My experience with gratitude is that finding ways to be thankful not only helps me, but it improves my connection with the people that I love. Today, I am blessed to say that I have an amazing life. I have an endless list of things to be grateful for, but my mind, if it’s allowed to focus on the negative, what’s not right, what’s not working in my life and in the world—look out. Those are the days when I need gratitude the most. That’s when I get back to basics and start with the simple things, which grow into more personal and profound things:

“I’m thankful for hot, clean, running water, I grateful for Peet’s coffee to drink, the fact that I have my physical health, my sobriety and my recovery community, I have organic food to eat, a vehicle to get me places, an incredible place to call home, two beautiful children, a loving and supportive husband, an amazing family and friends, the birds in my backyard, my pets, a heart and mind that are thirsty for knowledge and searching for ways to grow, my desire to make a difference in the world by helping one person at a time to honor and own their story and a higher power to guide me through it all…

I could go on for days. But then I guess that is the point of being grateful. We truly do have a choice to live in an emotional state of abundance if we let ourselves acknowledge all that we are, all that we have, and the gifts and experiences we share with the people we love.

My declaration is that I will practice gratitude daily. I can’t tell you how much better I already feel just knowing that I practiced gratitude today and my intention is to practice it again tomorrow. This is so much easier than practicing yoga, since I hurt my shoulder, doing downward dog is a real bitch!

Who would benefit from knowing that you appreciate and value them? What are you grateful for?

For more information about how personal development coaching can help you cultivate a daily gratitude practice, visit www.michelewaterman.com.