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Finding Joy Through Gratitude

What if you woke up and realized all you had was what you were grateful for yesterday? What would you be surrounded with? What would you be missing? Are you satisfied with what you are waking up to? Gratitude is a poignant antidote to suffering. It reminds us of what we still have amid feeling the pain of what we do not.

In a world where information is constantly thrown at us and social media constantly reminds us of what others have, it is important we take the reigns and direct our brains where we want to focus. If we actively focus on what we are grateful for, not only do we reduce suffering and restore home, we kick start a virtuous cycle of humility, positivity, and joy.

Gratitude triggers activity in the hypothalamus, a region in the brain that regulates several bodily mechanisms. So why does that matter? Science tells us that increasing activity in the hypothalamus with just a little bit of daily gratitude increases determination, attention, enthusiasm, and energy. Studies on gratitude have also shown positive effects on sleep, stress levels, pain reduction, and depression. Simply put, gratitude can change the trajectory of our overall mental, physical, and emotional health!

If you are looking to increase life satisfaction with gratitude, here are a few activities to add to your daily or weekly routine.

-Write a thank you note to someone. Mail it, deliver it, or even call and read it to the person over the phone.

-Write a thank you note to yourself.

-Make a gratitude list every morning or evening consisting of 3 things you are grateful for that day.

-Say thank you out loud when you feel inconvenienced (“thank you for this stop light, it allows me time to slow down”).

-Engage in acts of kindness.

-Take time to tell a manager about a good experience at a local store or restaurant.

It is important to remember gratitude is not comparison (“I’m glad I don’t have to live that person’s life”), it is appreciation for our own situation, circumstance, or belongings. If you are ready to stop the vicious cycle of comparison, dissatisfaction, and resentment and step into the virtuous cycle of joy, WCCE is here to help. Contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our therapists. Availability from 8AM-8PM to accommodate busy schedules.

Read more about our therapists here.