To keep in line with our previous blog entries for this month which were all about well-being and how psychology can contribute to well-being I’d like to focus in our last blog for this year on the practice of gratitude. Positive psychology research has shown that practicing gratitude can help to reduce stress, increases well being and life satisfaction and reduces symptoms of depression. Practicing gratitude also has shown to improve relationship satisfaction and strengthens relationships.
Dr. Robert Emmons (Emmons and McCullough, 2003) believes that gratitude consists of two stages. In the first stage we acknowledge that life is good. Doing this means that in order to be grateful we need to say yes to life. We also have to admit that we have received something that gratifies us.
The second stage of gratitude is to acknowledge that others have partially created the source of the good in our life to whom we then are grateful.
When we come to the end of the year it is quite natural to take stock and reflect on the year that has been. As we have said before, our mind tends to focus on the negative in situations like these. I challenge you this month to mindfully shift your focus to acknowledge the good things in your life and to remember the people that have been a positive impact in your life in 2015. Maybe you can even pay them a gratitude visit.
Here is how a gratitude visit works:
- Think of someone who has had positive influence in your life and to whom you are thankful but have not expressed your gratitude properly.
- Write a letter in which you express your gratitude.
- Arrange a time to deliver the letter personally.
The 365grateful.com project is another creative way of re-wiring your brain for happiness by taking one photo each day of something that you are grateful for. When we make an intentional choice to look at the world and our experiences through a different lens we can learn to celebrate the big and small treasures in our everyday life and cultivate the practice of gratitude.
On this note we would like to say thank you to everyone who has supported us this year and helped to make our dream of our own psychology practice come true.
Thank you for all the likes and shares on Facebook.
Thank you to our clients for their ongoing trust in us.
Thank you to our friends and family for their practical support during the moving in process, their encouragement in difficult times and their patience and understanding when work life seemed to take over home life.
CHRISTINA AND ILZE!
Emmons, R. A. & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 377-89.
http://positivepsychologyprogram.com/thanks-beneficial-effects-expressing-gratitude/ retrieved on 24/11/2015
http://365grateful.com / retrieved on 24/11/2015
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