How Gratitude Helps Us (10 minutes)

There are numerous studies demonstrating the benefits of gratitude from deceasing depression to improving sleep quality to increasing the likelihood that we’ll engage in healthful activities like exercise. But the North American culture of advertising tends to keep the focus on always wanting more. Gratitude helps us focus on what we already have, rather than what we don’t. It can help us shift from negative to positive emotions. From a sense of impossibility to possibility. Like meditation, it’s simple but not easy.

With mindfulness, we learn to focus on what’s going on right now. In doing so, our experience is less about what we want to happen and what we want to have, and more about what actually is. As we live more in our direct experience of the present, we develop a natural sense of satisfaction. In addition, as we learn to shift our focus in meditation, we can more intentionally focus on what we appreciate. The good people in our lives. The many ways our bodies are performing well. The tasty meal we’re eating. Something that doesn’t require a purchase. Something that’s here right now.

 

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