A Daily Gratitude Ritual for Health and Happiness
“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
Sometimes, life can seem to be racing along at warp speed – with all of the daily to-dos and myriad stresses, it can be difficult to remember to pause and feel grateful for the people, places, objects and moments that enrich our lives. The thanksgiving holiday is a wonderful opportunity to do just that, yet it only comes around once a year. Imagine how it would feel if you could carve out a few moments every single day to feel and express gratitude.
Dr. Robert Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and the founding editor-in-chief of the Journal of Positive Thinking, has conducted several studies over the last decade about the profound impact gratefulness can have on physical, psychological and social health. Emmons has found, after studying thousands of people of all ages, that the benefits of giving thanks are many, including stronger immune systems, less pain, lower blood pressure, more positive emotions, better sleep, fewer feelings of isolation and loneliness, more compassion and healthier relationships.1
Keeping a gratitude journal is one simple way that you can express the things you are grateful for every day (or every other day, even!) Emmons and other psychologists in the field recommend the use of these journals as healthy ritual to give thanks. And all you need is a notebook, a pen, and a few moments each day to reflect on what you are thankful for. Emmons says that “setting aside time on a daily basis to recall moments of gratitude associated with ordinary events, your personal attributes, or valued people in your life gives you the potential to interweave a sustainable life theme of gratefulness.” 2
If you don’t know where to begin, check of this link with some more information about gratitude journaling and some prompts to help you recognize the things you are most grateful for. Happy writing!
1Emmons, Robert. “Why Gratitude is Good.” Greater Good Magazine. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_gratitude_is_good
2Emmons, Robert. “10 Ways to Become More Grateful.” Greater Good Magazine. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/ten_ways_to_become_more_grateful1/