The How to and Science Behind Appreciation
It’s quite weird how this works, even if I just think about writing a text to say thank you I feel lighter. When I think of something I enjoy I feel lighter too although I often don’t want to think of something I enjoy when I’m sad or irritated because I haven’t exercised that muscle yet.
I notice after practicing or exercising the appreciation muscle I get better at it and it seems to come to my mind more often.
I exercise it by leaving a special journal beside my bed so I write in it each night. Or I might go on my Facebook early in the morning to see some nurturing quotes or what my girls have been posting and this alone lifts my spirits and I start smiling.
Think of three things from your day at home or involving your family that make you feel thankful.
Maybe you were able to get a chore done without interruption, or a friend stopped by for a visit. Or that pesky ant problem went away on its own.
Thx Thx Thx
Why It Works
In a study conducted by Drs. Martin Seligman, Tracy Steen and Christopher Peterson [T-2], a group of people was asked to practice this gratitude exercise every day for one week. Even though the exercise lasted just one week, at the one-month follow-up, participants were happier and less depressed than they had been at baseline, and they stayed happier and less depressed at the three- and six-month follow-ups.
This practice primes our mind for gratitude, and helps overcome the brain’s natural “negativity bias”,[H-1] a phenomenon by which we are wired to give more weight to negative rather than positive experiences or other kinds of information.
Grateful people are happier, less depressed, less stressed, and more satisfied with their relationships and their overall lives. Grateful people have a higher sense of purpose in life, better coping skills, stronger circles of support, and less trouble sleeping.