Individuals who experience frequent feelings of gratefulness have more energy, optimism, social connections, and happiness than those who do not. They also sleep more soundly, exercise more regularly, and have greater resistance to viral infections (Wall Street Journal, 2010).
Counting your blessings leads to fewer health complaints, reduced risk of depression, and helps to build resiliency (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).
Focusing on the aspects of your body for which you are grateful (as opposed to your body’s perceived flaws) can lead to improved body image (Poretsky, 2010).
We are nearing completion of our mural project at 42nd and Mission Streets in Kansas City, KS. In conjunction with the Rosedale Development Association, REbeL members recently painted a series of three murals with the aim of spreading our message into the greater Kansas City community. Photos from this project are shown below.
The ideas below may seem overly simplistic but practicing them regularly can have a significant impact on your life. Research shows that these seemingly simple practices of gratitude can increase your happiness by 25% (Emmons, 2007).
1. Keep a gratitude journal. Each week, write down 5 things for which you feel grateful. Keeping a journal for as little as three weeks can lead to a meaningful increase in health and happiness (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).
2. Write a letter to someone who has changed your life for the better. Tell them why and how they had a positive impact on you.
3. Say thank you. And mean it!
4. Be grateful for your body. Instead of focusing on your perceived flaws, think about what your body has done for you recently . . . has it recovered from an illness, climbed a hill, held a child, or cooked a meal for others? Think about how your body serves you each day. Did you know that your skin replaces itself once per month, your stomach lining every five days, your liver every six weeks, and your skeleton every three months?
Your body is AMAZING! (National Eating Disorders Association, 2005).