Updated: Apr 19, 2020
The word gratitude comes from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. In some ways gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible Gratitude connects us to a state of better understanding that there is a larger picture of our life’s development .
Cultivating a regular practice of gratitude is beneficial for your health.
Here are some scientific reasons to practice appreciation.
“Clinical trials indicate that the practice of gratitude can have dramatic and lasting effects in a person’s life,” said Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at UC Davis. “It can lower blood pressure, improve immune function and facilitate more efficient sleep.”
“Gratitude works because, as a way of perceiving and interpreting life, it recruits other positive emotions that have direct physical benefits, most likely through the immune system or endocrine system.”
Lauren Dunn in her article “Be thankful: Science says gratitude is good for your health” explains that a recent study from the University of California San Diego’s School of Medicine found that people who were more grateful actually had better heart health, specifically less inflammation and healthier heart rhythms.
“When we think about what we appreciate, the parasympathetic or calming part of the nervous system is triggered and that can have protective benefits on the body, including decreasing cortisol levels and perhaps increasing oxytocin, the bonding hormone involved in relationships that make us feel so good”.
“Some people may not be grateful by nature but it is a habit you can get accustomed to,” said Dr. Norman Rosenthal, a psychiatrist and author of “Winter Blues.
The everyday Practice of Gratitude is simple.
Sit in Sukhasana (the Easy pose) or sit in a chair. Bring your palms together by your heart and close your eyes. Bring your awareness to the body. Shift from the outside world inside. Notice the movement of your breath. Guide your awareness to the mid-chest, the area around your heart. Invite your breath to come into your heart center. Take a few intentional deep breaths, envision your breath going in and out through your heart center.
Visualize something that is easy for you to be thankful (it may be just one thing that brings you joy at the moment)
Feel the emotion, send gratitude, let this gratitude fill your heart. After you’ve finished the intentional breaths, allow your innate breath to continue nourish your body, Stay as long as you can with those feelings of appreciation and love.