In Honor of Thanksgiving By now you know all the benefits of gratitude. You hear about it in the media probably daily. Countless experts have demonstrated that it leads to greater happiness, longevity, feelings of being present and being grounded. So, we may be familiar with this concept of gratitude yet if we don’t put it into practice then it cannot benefit us and those around us. According to author/researcher Brene Brown, practice means being “wholehearted” which includes as she puts it “a whole lot of verbs”. Basic English teaches us that verbs mean action.
Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk, meditates and writes on “the gentle power” of gratefulness. He says that action means “Stop, Look, and Go”. Essentially we need “stop signs” in life that make us pause and reflect, absorbing moments we might not otherwise. From there we are to “look”, open our heart and soak up the senses being awakened, smells, sounds, images and feelings. Then one can “do”, go ahead and do something, change your consciousness, take initiative. “Doing something” brings us back to that verb of action. Actions related to gratitude look like journaling, praying, meditating, creating art or being verbal, saying the words out loud “I am so grateful”.
A once famous journalist, Adela Rogers St. Johns, put it profoundly: “Joy seems to me a step beyond happiness. Happiness is a sort of atmosphere you can live in sometimes when you’re lucky. Joy is a light that fills you with hope and faith and love”. So remember, gratitude is what brings us to joy and happiness. So get moving.
Belina N. Fruitman, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Additions Counselor lll, owner of A Woman’s Way to Recovery in Denver, former Adjunct Professor of Social Work at Metropolitan State University of Denver.