Even when things aren’t going your way and the energy is low. Even when tragedy or illness strikes and it seems there is no where to go. Gratitude can still be found by every person alive. Gratitude is recognition of the blessings in ones life and on the inside. Studies say that gratitude can actually make you happier. How does that work? Well, let’s see.
First of all, gratitude and appreciation actually change the heart and brain waves in your body to become more coherent. How do we know? An institution known as HeartMath is studying just this by measuring the heart and brainwaves of people before and after a simple technique they have devised which includes remembering gratitude and appreciation and breathing with this memory. When one is feeling bad or “stressed”, a number can be assigned to the level of stress felt in the body. Next, the technique is applied where you are asked to breathe in and out of your heart center. Finally, you are asked to breathe in and out of your heart with the thought of someone or something that you appreciate very much. Gratitude is conjured and the heart-centered breathing continues.
Every time, this technique has been shown to not only reduce stress in individuals, but activate a very special heart-brain connection which transforms jagged brain waves into smooth, calm waves of coherence. When we are in coherence we are less stressed, less anxious and more happy.
Another study, which is depicted in the video below, maps out taking people and asking them to write a letter to someone who they feel has influenced them the most. It is a letter of gratitude and appreciation. After the people created the letter, they are then asked to call and read the letter aloud to the person. In every case where the person was able to get a hold of the subject of their letter and read it to them, happiness levels skyrocketed. Happiness levels still rose significantly after just writing the letters.
I decided I wanted to conduct a similar study and got on Facebook to ask for volunteers. Over the course of a day, I got somewhere around 20 volunteers who rated themselves between 1-10 on a happiness scale. Many of the people who volunteered were already around 7 or 8 on the scale, so I asked again for those who would consider themselves 2’s or 3’s. I got a few takers.
In messages back and forth, I asked these volunteers to write a letter to someone they appreciated who they thought had been one of the most influential people in their lives. Of those who took me up on the challenge, all of them said they felt better after writing the letters and those who were able to call the people and read their letters admitted their happiness scale tipped the top.
World renowned mystic, teacher and author Almine teaches that gratitude is one of the most important attitudes for ascension. What does that mean? Basically, that by being in gratitude, the body and ones consciousness is elevated to new heights and able to experience a more elevated state of being. She states: “See the value in both the bounty and the challenge and offer heartfelt gratitude for both. By adopting a constant attitude of gratitude, you perpetuate the flow of whatever resource or experience supports your path.”
Almine suggests that gratitude helps us to heal injuries and trauma we may have endured which also helps others who have endured such experiences since we are all interconnected. She speaks about the blessing of utilizing gratitude as something with which to propel one’s consciousness forward into new heights. She even suggests that gratitude for things such as rape, loss of a loved one and seeming tragedy can help turn life around to a new perspective of health and enlightenment. Reacting in the attitude of gratitude can change ones reality tremendously, so as to experience the positive rather than perpetuate sorrow and regret.
It is not always possible to react with gratitude immediately in the face of certain situations, nor may it be appropriate to. Though, being able to look back and experience gratitude for all that has happened, no matter the magnitude is a powerful tool anyone can use to heal and release suffering. This audio recording discusses one perspective of how to use gratitude:
Here is the Happiness experiment video mentioned above. It is a tear-jerker as well as a good laugh – so beware!
Studies say gratitude makes you happier, do you buy it? The only way to know for sure is to try it the next time you are feeling unhappy. I recommend creating a gratitude journal, or a place to write down the things you are grateful for every day. Day after day, finding things to be grateful for, can boost your moral and cause a new perspective to be cultivated where life is seen as a progression of blessings rather than a stream of problems and regrets. Try it – I’d love to hear your experiences.
Written by: Stasia Bliss