Gratitude: 7 Ways to Count Your Blessings & Increase the Smiles in Your Life

A daily gratitude practice is the single most important thing we can do to increase a sense of well-being and create positive social effects.

“Count your blessings.  Once you realize how valuable you are and how much you have going for you, the smiles will return, the sun will break out, the music will play, and you will finally be able to move forward the life that God intended for you with grace, strength, courage, and confidence.”

Og Mandino, 1923 – 1996

In the research project on Gratitude and Thanksgiving two sociologists (Dr. Michael McCollough of South Methodist University and Dr. Robert Emmons of University of California at Davis) set out to explore the connection between faith and health.

They broke several hundred people into three groups with each person keeping a daily diary. 

  • Group 1:  Journaled of the events that occurred during their day.
  • Group 2:  Recorded all their unpleasant experiences every day.
  • Group 3:  Maintained a daily gratitude list.

The findings of Group 3 indicated that a daily gratitude practice created:

  • Higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism, and energy.
  • Less depression and stress.
  • More likely to help others, exercise more regularly, and make more progress toward goals.

The researchers also discovered when ones feels grateful they are more likely to feel loved.  Part of this is because a daily habit of gratitude encouraged a positive cycle of reciprocal kindness towards others, one act of kindness encouraged another act of kindness.

Today’s Simple Smile Igniter is to record the things you are grateful for in your daily life.  There are many ways to do this, here are a few suggestions, but please feel free to come up with what works best for you:

  1. Keep a Physical Journal.  List each thing to be grateful for each day as it occurs.
  2. Keep a Digital Journal.  Many of us have a notepad on our phones, use this to instantly record your grateful experiences each day.
  3. Become a Photo Journalist.  Take pictures of the things you are grateful for and flip through those images before you fall asleep each night.
  4. Videolog Your Grateful Journey.  Each day record a video of the things you are grateful for and post it to your Facebook page.
  5. Count Your Blessings.  Fill your left pocket with $1 worth of change.  Everytime you experience a gratitude moment move a penny worth over to your right pocket.  At the end of the day count your blessings, how much is in your right pocket?  How much is left in your left pocket?  Remember your score and note your highest days.
  6. Tweet With #Grateful.  Include “#grateful” at the end of each gratitude tweet, and join the many who are improving their daily life experiences simply by acknowledging the things they are grateful for.
  7. Update Your Facebook Status with at least one daily expression of gratitude.  “Today I am grateful for…” and watch your friends “like” you more and more.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post, I am grateful to have you here and to be able to blog my happy thoughts.  Wishing you a wonderful day.

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