Today we bring our awareness to the people and things in our lives that we are grateful for. We acknowledge the good no matter our current circumstances.
When we’re in the midst of an emotional crisis or struggling to overcome life’s problems, it can challenging to find things to be thankful for. But that’s precisely when we need gratitude most. Gratitude makes us more resilient and buffers the impact of negative life experiences. It decreases anxiety and depression. Gratitude has been proven to be one of the most reliable ways to increase happiness and life satisfaction. It enhances joy, pleasure, and optimism. It also makes relationships stronger.
So, if you’re struggling to feel it today, the good news is that gratitude can be cultivated and it gets easier with practice. According to neuropsychologist Rick Hanson, gratitude practice literally changes the brain. He explains that by repeatedly experiencing states of gratitude, new neural networks form in the brain and, over time, gratitude is represented there. As a result, feelings of gratitude can be more readily and frequently accessed.
So, how can you practice? One reliable and well-researched way is by keeping a gratitude journal. Every day, record 3 or 4 things you are grateful for. Another is gratitude meditation linking phrases to the breath. On your inhalation, mentally repeat “I’m grateful,” and on your exhalation “for [someone or something]. ” Try it and you just may find over time you feel a little happier.
Dr. Lisa Napolitano is an expert in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and other mindfulness-based treatments. A licensed psychologist in New York and Florida, she is the Founder and Director of CBT/DBT Associates, a boutique psychology practice group. Dr. Napolitano is an expert in the treatment of stress, anxiety, worry, and emotion regulation problems. She has specifically designed her treatment approach for executives, attorneys, and other high-functioning individuals whom she believes shouldn’t have to sacrifice their careers to manage their stress and work on developing their potential.