Cultivating Gratitude and Joy

Researchers are studying and confirming what we all already know to be true- the act of gratitude has major benefits on our mental health, physical health, relationships, work performance, etc. In studies, people who engaged in gratitude practices:

-reported feeling more optimistic about the coming week

- reported making more progress towards their goals

- reported feeling more alert, enthusiastic, determined, and energetic

- were more likely to have helped someone recently

- reported a greater sense of connectedness to others

- reported better sleep

So what does this look like? A gratitude list is often my “go-to.” Today’s list?: a productive morning session, the ability to have a job that in no way feels like “work,” pretty Christmas decor, amazing weather, and plans with one of my closest friends tomorrow.

Making a gratitude list doesn’t take a lot of time, but goes far in terms of cultivating an attitude of gratitude. When I spend time being introspective and appreciating what I have, I notice my sense of joy deepening. (Side note: Joy often gets confused with happiness, which is very different) For me, this often looks like time in prayer. For others, it may be journaling, or listening to a gratitude podcast. Intentionally focusing on gratitude redirects our minds from complaining or discontentment, which let’s be honest, is something we ALL need.

What are YOU grateful for today?

Kristen CairnsComment