The SparkPeople Blog

Have You Caught “The Wave” of Daily Gratitude?

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
11/19/2011 6:00 AM   :  55 comments   :  12,034 Views

It’s that time of year again when we pause and give thanks. We gather together and take stock of who and what is most important in our lives. You may have even noticed the wave of daily gratitude movement on Facebook, which has been a wonderful opportunity to get caught up in this season of thankfulness. What if, however, we could make gratitude a part of our daily experience of life? What would that look like? How would it change our world?
 
Our friends at the HeartMath Research Center in Boulder Creek, Calif. have challenged us to exercise daily gratitude. HeartMath shared these tips with us:
 
Researchers have observed that the feeling of appreciation is the most concrete and the easiest positive emotion for individuals to self-generate and sustain for long periods. 
 
"Gratitude is an expression of the heart and it is a powerful and positive emotional energy that can add hope and resilience in your life,” said behavioral psychologist Deborah Rozman, author of Transforming Stress: The HeartMath Solution for Relieving Worry, Fatigue, and Tension
 
Nearly everyone can find something – whether big or small – to genuinely appreciate and stress experts say that the act of simply recalling a time of feeling sincere appreciation and then intentionally focusing on that feeling for a few moments can reduce emotional stress. Learning to self-generate positive emotions such as appreciation can also have a beneficial effect on attitudes and relationships.
 
Gratitude in Focus
Photos are a great way to summon positive feelings. Find a few photos that evoke feelings of appreciation. It can be a photo of a great vacation moment, a picture of a loved one or a favorite pet. Place the photos in locations where you will see them during the day – in the car, on your desk, the bathroom mirror, or your refrigerator. When you see the photos pause for a moment and connect with the feeling of appreciation.

Blessing Reminders
While you’re building the habit of appreciating more often, try using tools to remember your intention. Place a sticky note in key locations or set an alarm on your cell phone. Reminding yourself to pause for a moment or two can help reconnect you with your heart intention. During this short break find something that you appreciate that took place that day, it can even be appreciating yourself for your commitment. This practice starts to increase your awareness of what’s happening in your life that is good.


Keep a Gratitude Journal
Set aside a few minutes at the end of each day to write down a few things you are grateful for. It can be as simple as appreciating the person who held the door for you. The practice helps you see life more through the perspective of gratitude. Once you write your list, allow a couple minutes to focus on the genuine feeling of appreciation for the things on your list. Be consistent with the practice to get the most out of it. You might also consider adding a gratitude app to your smartphone so you can carry your lists with you and add to it as you move through your day.
 
Incorporate Gratitude into Your Parenting 
I can't think of a better opportunity to expand the practice thankful living than to incorporate gratitude into our parenting. Teaching our kids to be thankful in childhood will expose them to the positive energy that is released when we share feelings of gratitude. Cementing this practice at a young age will establish positive patterns and healthy outcomes that they will carry into the rest of their life. 
 
As a mom, these tips really hit home. I thought about the ways to introduce this concept to your children:
 
  • Model thankfulness for your children. Notice the small and big things others do for you and make a big deal about it in-front of your kids.
  • Take your children into the kitchen (of a friend's house or even a restaurant) to thank the cook.
  • Encourage your kids to show thankfulness when a friend shares a toy or a sibling offers them their turn for something fun. 
  • Create a thankfulness board in your home where family members can leave personal notes for one another.
  • Talk with them about how good it felt to give thanks or be thanked.
 
Learn more about HeartMath’s gratitude initiative and their free gratitude resources at www.heartmath.com/thanks and on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/heartmath.

What are you thankful for and have you shared that with some special recently? Let’s start a wave of gratitude right here, right now by leaving a comment on this article about with what you are thankful for today.
 


Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
 

NEXT ENTRY >   A Double Giveaway That's Music to Your Ears

Great Stories from around the Web

Comments

  • 55
    I am so grateful how God takes care of me. Just the other day I had my car checked and it didn't need the work done that another mechanic said it needed. Praise God! I am grateful for SP and my friends there & learning about healthy habits. - 11/13/2012   1:13:00 PM
  • 54
    Good article.I am thankful for my husband who loves me &cares if I am having a bad Crohnes Disease &RA day. I love & miss &am thankful for my step-son who is my boy since I cared enough to put the time & effort into helping him become a productive & caring young man. - 12/7/2011   12:41:02 PM
  • CEMMONS7
    53
    I am thankful that I have my husband and daughter with me as we live overseas. I am missing my other daughter in the states. I am thankful for the food I am steadily preparing and the time we will spend together today. I am thankful that God is still by my side, knows all I go through and is there to help me in the end. I am thankful also that I have started my journey to get healthy. It has been a very difficult one but I hope to be able to prevail. - 11/23/2011   8:05:19 PM
  • 52
    I am grateful for life, God in my life, my husband, my daughter. - 11/23/2011   5:01:42 PM
  • 51
    I'm thankful for each beautiful sunrise and each beautiful sunset I get to enjoy each day and all the good things (and some not always as good) in life that happen between these events. LIFE IS GOOD and I appreciate and take full advantage of each moment I am blessed with. - 11/22/2011   11:23:15 PM
  • 50
    I am grateful for my family, especially my two new grandsons who remind me on a daily basis about unconditional love. - 11/22/2011   9:50:32 AM
  • 49
    I am thankful for my husband's job. After a long year and a half of unemployment, we moved to a new state for a job that lasted a year and then his desk was cut again. That same day he was given notice, he was offered another job. It meant another big move for our family but it is a good job, it provides enough for us to rent a comfortable home, not worry about putting food on the table or clothes on our children, and allows for me to be a stay-at-home mom. - 11/22/2011   8:36:45 AM
  • MATIA7
    48
    I am thankful for my life and the daily blessings I receive from God. I am also thankful for my family and friends - 11/21/2011   9:03:32 PM
  • 47
    For one school year I tried this with my son, to get people to say, Thank You. By doing helpful nice things we tried to get people to say thanks, our goal was to elicit 5 thank yous each day. I really tried to help him see how much better life could be with an attitude of gratitude! Well, it didn't work, but I tried! - 11/21/2011   11:11:54 AM
  • 46
    My daughter has made it a habit to post a Thanksgiving Tree before the season starts, a poster with the trunk and limbs drawn, and each time they (parents or children) think of something they are grateful for, they write it on a leaf cut from different colors of paper and stick it onto the tree... when I saw it the last week in September, it was already pretty leaf-y! - 11/21/2011   10:38:18 AM
  • 45
    Thankful for God;s love, family, friends, health and Thanksgiving WEEK!!! - 11/21/2011   12:54:02 AM
  • BHAMMER
    44
    I am grateful for my Husband & Children:) I am grateful I Live in the United States, and we have all of the Freedoms we have here:) I am grateful that I finally learned I need to live a healthy lifestyle, & I am glad I have Spark People to make my lifestyle changes easier:) - 11/20/2011   11:07:56 PM
  • 43
    I attempt to post one blessing and one positive thought for the day on facebook because it helps me stop and think about exactly what I am thankful for and develop more positive thinking. Sometimes I don't take the time and I notice a void in my day when I miss doing this. I didn't know it "the thing" to be doing on FB, but I started doing it for myself just because I felt it was good to stop and take at look at these things in my life. Thanks SP for suggesting that we all partake in this. - 11/20/2011   10:29:23 PM
  • 42
    I thank God every day for bringing my husband into my life. He's the best thing that ever happened to me! I'm thankful for our churches that have helped us when we needed it. I'm thankful for my family's help too. I'm thankful for the new hope I have for the future. I have much to be thankful for! - 11/20/2011   9:53:02 PM
  • 41
    I am thankful I can walk around the block, because I have known days when I could not get out of bed without help! - 11/20/2011   9:44:22 PM
  • 40
    i am thankful 4 my 2 sons and i teach them to be grateful and thankful for all the blessing bestowed upon us - 11/20/2011   7:25:19 PM
  • 39
    I am thankful for our grand daughter, who gives me a reason to smile every day! - 11/20/2011   7:00:34 PM
  • 38
    I am thankful to Jackie for introducing me to Sparkpeople. It may sound corny but I was hesitant and ignored the initial introduction. Weeks later I signed up and a whole new world has opened up to me that is more valuable than I could have ever imagined. I have learned so much and tried so many things that bring real joy to my life. - 11/20/2011   6:34:19 PM
  • 37
    I'm thankful for a husband who likes to hear me sing around the house. he says it lets him know he's making me happy. If you heard my singing, you'd understand that this is something to be profoundly grateful for. - 11/20/2011   6:30:18 PM
  • 36
    I am thankful for my children. They are my greatest teachers and bring blessings and love into the world around them. - 11/20/2011   6:26:33 PM
  • 35
    We are making a list of 1000 things, we are grateful for. (at church) We hope to have our list done by Easter. I'm at about 100, so sure have a long way to go. There are so many things to be thankful for, so....
    I'm happy to be alive, and oh so much more! - 11/20/2011   6:24:36 PM
  • 34
    This is awesome! I especially appreciate the gratitude journal idea! What a great tool to have in those days we feel glum! Yes! Thank You Spark for featuring this article! - 11/20/2011   5:02:09 PM
  • 33
    I'm grateful for this article! Thank you so much! Also for the sunny day, my hubby, our dog, loved ones, God, my recovery (in progress) of compulsive overeating, my exercise program. :) - 11/20/2011   4:49:04 PM
  • 32
    Today my gratitude goes in particular to the people at my friend's church who prepared a delicious meal (soup and main course) for us at the bible discussion group. They do this selflessly every week for the duration of the discussion group, and ask for nothing in return other than friendship and pleasure - both of these being two-way things. - 11/20/2011   4:13:55 PM
  • 31
    I am thankful for my family.
    I am thankful for being able to return to an old job that I really enjoy.
    - 11/20/2011   2:15:23 PM
  • 30
    I am grateful for my yoga class today. I am thankful of my "me time" today. - 11/20/2011   1:38:32 PM
  • DJCBECK
    29
    I am grateful for the freedom of AMERICA ,that we have choices and I choose to live for GOD, serve him and for the blessing of children & family. Grateful ya'll made this site for people to make healthier choices in their lifestyle. thank you keep the blessings coming!
    Peace, Darlene - 11/20/2011   1:34:00 PM
  • 28
    I call it the ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE. We have SO much to be grateful for.
    #1 We live in a free country....well it is for now.
    #2 Women are free to be who they want to be, dress as they like, etc.
    #3 We are free to worship as we please....again for now.
    #4 We can be as happy and healthy as we want to be!!!

    Truly the most thankful thing....I am thankful for Jesus, who came to earth, became a man, died on the cross for MY sins , WHY?????? BECAUSE HE LOVES ME SO MUCH....ALL of us can enjoy this great sacrifice....no matter who we are, no matter where we live!!!! - 11/20/2011   12:08:46 PM
  • 27
    I am grateful for my dh, my friends and family, my pets, and the ability to get up in the morning to work, exercise, spark, read....I am grateful for many many things!!! - 11/20/2011   10:05:42 AM
  • 26
    I have been keeping a daily gratitude list since 1/7/2004. A friend and I send it to each other nightly. Not only has it improved our attitude, because we are on alert throughout the day for things to put on our gratitude list, but it has helped us to develope a deeper relationship. I'm grateful for my gratitude buddy! - 11/20/2011   9:19:43 AM
  • CRICKET0065
    25
    I am grateful every day for my children, my significant other, my parents , my home that I love, my job and my health. Sometimes there are annoyances and problems in daily life, but I have so much to be thankful for every day. - 11/20/2011   8:39:59 AM
  • 24
    I am thankful for each sunrise. - 11/20/2011   8:28:13 AM
  • 23
    I am thankful for my life.... the people in it.... the challenges I get to face daily.... everything! - 11/20/2011   7:56:10 AM
  • 22
    I am thankful for my family and friends. - 11/20/2011   7:49:52 AM
  • 21
    I am grateful for my beloved brother Ralph. He showed me a better way to love. RIP! - 11/20/2011   7:37:33 AM
  • 20
    I am thankful for my family, my friends, and my work. I am thankful for time to relax during the holiday week for Thanksgiving. - 11/20/2011   7:16:01 AM
  • 19
    I give thanks for my children and grandchildren, my husband and friends, my home and vehicle and job. I gve thanks that my God supplies all that I need and so much more! I am very grateful for His nudge to check out SparkPeople!! - 11/20/2011   6:55:55 AM
  • 18
    I created a gratitude blog so I could record what I am thankful every day of the year. We should all try to extend this good will through all the seasons.
    I am grateful for my health, my husband, and my home. - 11/20/2011   6:22:28 AM
  • BARRISTER2011
    17
    What a great blog page!

    I am thankful for my husband and son! - 11/20/2011   3:28:53 AM
  • 16
    I am thankful that my depression has lifted and that I am enjoying life again, enabling me to really try to lose the weight that has accumulated over the last eighteen months. - 11/20/2011   2:48:23 AM
  • 15
    I thankful for my family, but it's the little things in life that make it worth living. - 11/19/2011   11:38:41 PM
  • 14
    When you are depressed, thankfulness and gratefulness seems to be buried. Thank you for your article that helped me recall that God has been good to me.
    As a sr. Citizen that has been on a fixed income for three years, bitterness is easy to come by. But God raised up church Friends to help us with our real estate taxes. DH and I are very grateful! - 11/19/2011   10:55:13 PM
  • 13
    I am grateful for my family,,,, everything I do is for them... I am grateful for my stubbornness,, it stops me from sliding too far backwards, and it keeps me fighting for my health and wellness. - 11/19/2011   9:16:33 PM
  • 12
    I am thankful for my husband, and for my sweet dog and pesky cat. I am also very thankful for good friends and family. - 11/19/2011   8:38:22 PM
  • AHICKEY1
    11
    I am thankful for my two beautiful, talented, smart and healthy teenagers.
    Happy Thanksgiving! - 11/19/2011   2:10:26 PM
  • 10
    I am thankful for my health. My sister is fighting small cell cancer. We are in her fifth year of the fight. It started in her lungs went into remission to return in her brain went into remission to return in her stomach. So far it is becoming smaller but she is very weak and falls frequently. Life is so short we need to be grateful and accepting of others foibles. to have unconditional love and acceptance. - 11/19/2011   1:56:51 PM
  • 9
    I loved this article. I have been doing this on facebook, and it has been a lot of fun. I also keep a gratitude journal, and it is a great mood booster. It has been more of a stop/start thing, but over the years I have generated a significant number of pages, and when I'm blue, it helps me get out of the dumbs to go back and review it, then add a few more comments.

    Note:
    I wanted to share this article on face book, but I am having trouble getting the like button to work. Sometime it isn't even there, but it was there once and didn't post the article to my facebook account. I can't figure out what is going on. - 11/19/2011   1:16:06 PM
  • 8
    Each evening at dinner, our family goes around the table and tells what we are thankful for that day or a "good" thing that happened that day. This was actually my 11 yo sons idea. He started it one day and now we do it every night at dinner. Its a great way for us to connect as a family. - 11/19/2011   12:37:57 PM
  • JODILYNN43
    7
    I am thankful for being able to see the beauty in taking responsibility for my health. Once you realize that the choices we make can create a sucessful and beautiful life, then we can really make strides and not make excuses. We choose our destiny.... Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!! - 11/19/2011   12:20:39 PM
  • 6
    I am thankful for so many things! #1 is God! I always want to try and put him first! Secondly, I am thankful for friends and family! The material possessions we have in this lifetime will pass away when we die, but the love we gave to those we care about, will be our legecy! I have lost both parents and a middle sister which is unfortunate, but I will always remember the love they gave to me! None of us are perfect, but showing just a little bit of kindness can go a long ways! Thirdly, I am greatful for my health and my job! I recently obtained a new job and what a blessing it has been! I work with children which I am really compassionate about! I just love it! Sometimes you never know what direction God will lead you! Fourth, I am very thankful for Spark People! The friends I have received on here are so precious to me! Thank you everyone! I hope to obtain many more life long friendships! Have a blessed day! - 11/19/2011   12:15:15 PM

Please Log In To Leave A Comment:    Log in now ›


Join SparkPeople.com

Sign up for a FREE SparkPeople account