A Daily Dose of Gratitude
by Melissa Hinshaw, LMT
November is traditionally the time of the year when we gather with friends and family to share and show our gratitude for what we have and who we share our lives with. Thanksgiving is a beautiful holiday and its sentiment is powerful. But what if gratitude became apart of out daily lives…I mean on a very conscious and intentional level? Could it change our attitudes? Better yet, could it alter our physiologies? Let me tell you what I discovered when I decided to write about gratitude and what it does for me.
Let’s start with the definition of gratitude. It comes from the latin for, gratia, which means grace or thankfulness. Everyday we are thanking people for this and that, one because we mean it, and two, because it’s the polite thing to do. The gratitude I want to discuss is the gratefulness we have for all we have with the awareness that we have not earned, nor do we deserve all that we’ve been given. I don’t mean this in a negative way at all. We work hard, we do what is expected so we get what we deserve, right? This is true, but letting the Universe know we are honored everyday for all things, big and little, can have a huge impact. I think of it like how a child approaches every morsel of the day…each moment is special and magical and noticed.
Let me tell you a secret about myself. Everyday when I arrive at Pulling Down the Moon I take the stairs up to the 8th floor. On my journey up I do what I call is my, “grateful chant.” I say, OUTLOUD, all the things in that moment that I am thankful for. Please don’t laugh, but here goes…”I am grateful for finding a parking space. I am grateful that my kids had a nice morning. I am grateful that my son is feeling good today. I am grateful that I have a safe home. I am grateful that my car works. I am grateful that I have Pulling Down the Moon. I am grateful that I can pay my bills. I am grateful to be loved. I am grateful to have the chance to love deeply, etc…” The chant stops when I reach the top and it is different every day. This has become a ritual for me that I look forward to and I cannot start my day without it. Whoopie!! Melissa is grateful. So what? Well, after doing some research on gratitude I discovered just how powerful being grateful can be.
In a study done at Harvard Medical School they found that, “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” An article in, Tech & Science, outlines the five scientifically proven benefits of gratitude. Some of these include improved sleep quality, increased helpfulness and empathy, and increased self-esteem. The final two effects of being grateful really stood out to me, especially for my sisters going down fertility lane: grateful people are more hopeful and healthy and they also have increased resilience. These are qualities that can make or break getting through a difficult journey…like trying to make a baby when the deck isn’t stacked just right.
I will end this by saying that my way is not THE way to experience gratitude but it does work for me. I encourage you to find a way to express and/or show gratitude every single day. Actually, it has more to do with the feeling of gratitude and how that affects our souls and our bodies. So, I guess it is about finding ways to feel grateful for anything and everything…the bumps that life puts in front of us as well as the gifts. Let’s not take for granted that which we receive on a regular basis. Let’s cherish it and honor it and thank it with grace. “I am grateful for the opportunity to write this article and to share with my sisters what has changed my life!”