I learned long ago, probably during one of my many self-help-book-reading jags, that expressing appreciation to others makes them feel really, really good, and it actually has a profoundly positive effect on relationships. As I exponentially increased my expressions of appreciation and gratefulness--by consciously choosing to do so--I started to notice just how rarely I had heard such appreciation sent my direction. Such warm-and-fuzzy, heartfelt feelings of gratitude were apparently more rare than I ever imagined them to be, and I never would have noticed if I hadn’t made the concerted effort to increase my own delivery of these simple, yet meaningful, expressions.
In my inbox last week, I received an e-mail from the leader of a women’s chorus that I belonged to in Chapel Hill, NC. Every week, this amazing woman sends out announcements of uplifting, healing, love-focused events, requests, and news items. Amongst the long list that day was a link to ArtofGratitude.com, described as “a free resource designed to help people create a daily practice of expressing gratitude.”
I had only recently begun to keep a “receiving journal,” in which I list all of the tangible things/kindnesses/acknowledgments, great and small, that I receive throughout the course of the day. I began cultivating this practice so that I would get accustomed to being the recipient of abundance in all forms. So the practice of recording my daily expressions of gratitude--in addition to hearkening back to that day many many years ago when I began my unrestrained vocal expressions of gratitude for others--seemed a perfect complement to that practice. I signed up immediately, and I suggest you do, too.
Why, you might ask, is it so important to record our feelings of gratitude on a daily basis? Robert Reichner and Adam Feuer, the founders of the site, do a nice job in their home-page video of explaining just why gratitude is so important in our lives. And there is plenty of research emerging about how the expression of gratitude not only benefits the recipient of that gratitude, even those under extreme stress, but it also improves the well-being of the ones delivering it.
If the yogic law of giving is really at work, which I have no doubt it is, when we say and write the words “I am grateful for . . .”, we’re pretty much guaranteed to receive more and more things to be grateful for. The more we give out, the more we get back.
I haven’t completed my Art of Gratitude email for today yet, so I think I’ll do so right here, right now:
Sara Hauber, MA
Coach, listener, observer, writer, and erstwhile teacher; constantly curious
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