As we quickly approach the end of November, known as the gratitude month, I wanted to reflect on the power of having a grateful heart. It’s not just a feel-good sentiment but a transformative force. Let’s unravel the magic gratitude has worked in my journey, exploring the science-backed impacts on mind and body.
Positive psychology is the study and science of what makes life worth living. As I learned from Robert Mack, an Ivy-league positive psych expert, it is a time-tested, phase-valid empirical study of the relationship between happiness and success. In his lecture during my training, Mack shared that it’s been already proven that happy people make more money, live longer, are healthier, more generous, are perceived as more attractive, are easier to get along with, are smarter, and are more creative. Then the key to achieving all the great things in life is happiness.
According to Martin Seligman, a pioneer of positive psychology, happiness has three dimensions: the Pleasant Life, the Good Life, and the Meaningful Life. The Pleasant Life is realized if we learn to savor and appreciate basic pleasures such as companionship, the natural environment, and our bodily needs. We can remain pleasantly stuck at this stage or go on to experience the Good Life, which is achieved through discovering our unique virtues and strengths and employing them creatively to enhance our lives. Consequently, the final stage is the Meaningful Life, in which we find a deep sense of fulfillment by employing our unique strengths for a purpose greater than ourselves.
Each dimension of happiness is linked to a positive emotion, which Seligman considers the foundation of well-being. In his book Flourish, he explains how cultivating positive emotions can be a stepping stone toward a more fulfilling existence. He emphasizes the significance of experiencing joy and gratitude, the two most important positive emotions, in our daily lives. And while we might be tempted to assume that happiness causes positive emotions, Seligman wonders, instead, whether positive emotions cause happiness.
The Power of Gratitude
That is how we get back to the power of gratitude – It may unlock your happiness and therefore allow you to achieve all the great things in life. The good news is the same way we can develop deep breathing by doing breathwork, we can develop a grateful heart by exercising gratitude. Seligman suggests some easy yet effective ways. The one exercise called 3 Blessings, for example, is done by focusing on the things you’re grateful for daily. I thought it was simple enough and worth trying.
So, gratitude journaling has become part of my nightly ritual. Before bed, I write down three good things that happened during the day. I focus on being grateful for these events as I replay each one in my mind. I keep it simple jotting down small moments of joy—a shared laugh, a warm cup of tea, a thoughtful gesture, a hug, or a smile. Little did I know that this practice would usher in a wave of positivity that seeped into every corner of my life.
Uplift in Life
After practicing writing down my 3 blessings every night for a few weeks, it became easier to find more and more events to add. Soon enough I had way too many things to write as if I had changed my reality. However, the secret is gratitude changes your perception of reality. The act of acknowledging the good amidst the challenges becomes a shield, a powerful ally against the chaos. What we pay attention to grows! Whenever I need some uplifting reminders, I look through my gratitude notes to help shift my focus.
I have been having deeply resting nights since I started taking a moment to appreciate the day’s blessings before bedtime. It is like gratitude whispers serenity into my ears, inviting peaceful dreams. Gratitude also helps turn ordinary moments into cherished memories which can level up our social relations. We should all let gratitude become a language spoken in our relationships. Simple expressions of thanks—spoken or written—forge stronger connections.
Beyond the Mind
The power of gratitude extends beyond the mind. Studies speak of lower blood pressure and a healthier heart as some of the tangible physical health benefits of practicing it. As we nurture a grateful heart, it reciprocates with vitality, reminding us that the mind-body connection is real. Gratitude also leads to a more physically and mentally resilient being. In storms of challenge, it brings strength, and in moments of despair, it lights the way. Another way to exercise gratitude is by acknowledging people who somehow made a difference in our lives. So, as an example, I decided to express my gratitude publicly here.
First and foremost, I’d like to thank God for his whole creation – for every star in the sky, for the sun, the Earth, and the moon. For every sunrise and sunset, every raindrop, every tree, and every vegetable that grows in our soil – I’m grateful. Lord, I’m deeply thankful for every new day you allow me to live, for every challenge that makes me stronger, for every moment of joy and of sadness. Thank God, for all the wonderful people you filled my life with. I’m beyond blessed!
I’d like to thank you, my reader! You’re the reason why I’m here, on the other side of the screen. Writing helps me heal my emotional wounds and soothes my heart. Thank you for supporting me.
A huge thanks to my wonderful husband who gave me the space and support I needed to start this work. A big shout out to my kids for giving me the ultimate blessing of motherhood and for following along. Thanks to my beautiful extended family, every single one of them always sending me words of encouragement and wishes for success – my parents, my dear sisters, niece, nephews, aunts, cousins, in-laws, and Aline – my dear angel, for the inspiration.
My path has been loaded with dear friends. Some of them are scattered all over the world – in Canada, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Scotland, and Mexico – thank you for always being close to my heart! Some are all over the United States – Louisiana, Washington, Nevada, Texas, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Indiana, and of course my new friends here in Tennessee – I truly appreciate you!
A huge thanks to my Brazilian friends living all over the country – in São Luis do Maranhão, Belém do Pará, Guaratinguetá, Belo Horizonte, Contagem, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Petrópolis, Teresópolis, Sete Lagoas, Poços de Caldas, Ouro Preto, Mariana, São Roque de Minas, Conselheiro Lafaiete, Santa Tereza, Linhares, Betim, Brasília and maybe other places that I cannot remember now. All of you have a special place in my heart! Thank you all for being part of my life.
As I pen down these reflections, I invite you to embark on your gratitude journey. It’s not just a practice; it’s a game changer —something that can transform the ordinary into extraordinary. Let’s raise a toast to the power of gratitude!
Remember: Good is what makes you feel well!
Read more about other holistic techniques that can improve your health in Meditation.
Every week I send out my newsletter called Mamma’s Tips where I share health and wellness topics, good books, recipes, and more.
Click below to subscribe!
I’m excited to share that I just published my first e-book
A Weekend of Feeling Great!
In this book, you’ll find all the steps you can take to feel great. Besides all the foundational principles of multidimensional health, it has a sample of a productive daily routine and a two-day menu with 10 healthy recipes for you to try.