Power of Gratitude
COVID-19 outbreak has shattered many personal and professional lives. Together we faced withdrawal, hopelessness, difficulties in concentration, feeling of being less productive, disturbed sleeping and eating habits. Many people felt sad, anxious, and unhappy. During these uncertain times it is important to count our blessings. Try gratitude! It is as powerful as possible.
Considerable research has been done that advise feeling and expressing gratitude can help us feel happier, high level of positive state of alertness, enthusiasm, and determination. Research done by Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, have done much of the research on gratitude. In one study, they asked all participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics. Participants were divided into groups. One group wrote about the positive events that happened during the week, other group wrote about the daily unpleasant events and the last group wrote about the events that affected them. After the period of 10 weeks, it was observed that the group which wrote about the positive events were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Interestingly, they lived healthier by exercising more and less visits to the physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.
Another study done in the field by Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, involved 411 participants to test the impact of positive psychology. Each compared with a control assignment of writing about early memories. The assignment was to write and deliver a letter of being grateful to someone who was never thanked. Participants showed a huge increase in happiness scores. This impact was greater than any other intervention, benefits lasting for a month.
Most studies which are published on this topic support the association of individual’s well being and gratitude.
Some ways to practice gratitude
Gratitude journal. Every morning write down 5 things you feel grateful for. Some days it might be difficult to find them, those day you can simply read the previous entries. When you practice this daily, no matter how bad the day was, you will be able to notice the smallest thing.
Thank you note. Same as the experiment done by Dr. Martin, write a thank you letter to someone. It maybe the people you know or people you have never had an opportunity to thank. It can be people you see everyday but the unspoken feeling spreads positivity and happiness.
During these difficult times, it can be tough to find something to be grateful for. Start with something small, like being grateful for a cup of coffee on a cold winter’s morning or seeing the flowers blooming with the onset of spring or seeing the shining sun through the window. Enjoy the little things in life. Experience this experience and move ahead to the next experience.
Gratitude turns what you have into enough.
Vee holds her Master’s degree in Counselling and Psychotherapy from Western Sydney University and is fully registered with Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation Australia (PACFA). She had previously done her Bachelor of Psychology in India.