What a great way to start my year! I had the privilege of attending an amazing class called “Psychological Resilience” at the Harvard Extension School, taught by Dr. Shelley Carson, Dr. Heidi Hanna, and Jeff Perrotti – wonderful professors who are eager to spread kindness and share the wisdom of their experiences with their students.
As soon as we enter our Zoom class, we are welcomed by Jeff’s infectious smile. Somedays Dr. Hanna shares her secret of serenity through guided meditation. And every day, Jeff breaks the students into smaller groups and instructs us to discuss three things from the past twenty-four hours that we are grateful for.
On the first day, while I pondered what to include on my gratitude-list, I remember feeling as though my brain had momentarily paused. Then I recalled that Jeff had mentioned that the item we chose could be anything, big or small. Finally, something came to mind: I was thankful for the aromatic tea that I enjoy each dawn as the sun greets the day. Now I eagerly wait for the class so I can share the scribbled gratitude that fills up the pages of my diary!
In this blog entry, I’d like to share what I’ve learned about gratitude in hopes that you can use it to bring small transformations into your lives.
What is gratitude?
Gratitude is the quality of being thankful and counting your blessings. It is the acknowledgment of everything you receive, whether big or small, and your willingness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
Many of us express our gratitude by saying “thank you”. But gratitude is more than just being grateful, as it is an emotion that brings focus on the abundance in our lives and instills positivity in our minds.
Why is gratitude important?
Gratitude enhances well-being: Studies have revealed that keeping a gratitude journal is inversely related to depression. Expressing appreciation increases happiness, improves sleep quality, and leads to greater overall satisfaction with life (Moskowitz, 2010, p.472).
Gratitude improves relationships: Counting one’s blessings significantly increases their positive effects. Gratitude positively impacts our attitudes, allowing people to become more forgiving and accepting, which may help deepen relationships.
Gratitude allows for better self-control: Practicing gratitude helps focus our minds, helping us make better choices and experience increased impulse control, which in turn leads to better health outcomes.
Here are the three things that I am grateful for this week:
I’m thankful for Dr. Shelley Carson, Dr. Heidi Hanna, and Jeff Perrotti for sharing their wisdom with us and enhancing our learning.
I’m thankful for my friends, family, and co-workers who continue to support me while I recover from my lymph node dissection surgery.
I’m thankful for Dr. Hanna for sharing her valuable time with me and guiding me so that I can be one step closer to publishing my very first book.
So, why don’t you try practicing some gratitude? Before going to sleep, take a moment to think about three positive things that happened during the day, and discover how it can create a positive change in your life. As always, feel free to share your thoughts and experiences with me!
Moskowitz, J.T. (2010). Positive affect at the onset of chronic illness: Planting the seeds of resilience. In J.W. Reich, A.J. Zautra, & J.S. Hall (Eds.), Handbook of adult resilience (pp. 465–483). New York, NY: Guildford Press.
Editor : A.J. McGinnis