The Magic of Gratitude


The Magic Tree located in Columbia, MO. Dec. 9, 2013. Acknowledge what is going right in your life instead of what’s going wrong, and find the magic in what you already have. Photo by Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

Find the magic in what you already have.

We humans can get stuck in a rut of negativity. It’s difficult to seek the positive when worries and challenges are impending. So, what do we do? This is a great time to practice gratitude. According to a study in the Harvard Health Publication, practicing gratitude can be significantly beneficial for a person’s social and psychological well-being.

Gratitude is an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has rather than what one wants. It can apply to the past (memories of childhood or successes), the present (not taking things for granted), or the future (keeping an optimistic attitude). For example, a person may want to be better at public speaking but they also can be appreciative that they’re able to publicly speak at all. I find myself in the rut of focusing on what may be wrong instead what is going right. It could be productive or it could be getting in the way of satisfaction and joy.

Here are a few ways to get started on practicing gratitude:

  1. Keep a gratitude journal: Write down and share a thought about a simple gift you received during the day. Try making this a habit–before bed write down one thing you are grateful for.

  2. Thank someone mentally: Even if you can’t thank them in person. Write a thank you to someone in your life expressing your appreciation for them. Make it a habit. Every month write a letter to someone.

  3. Meditate: Meditation is a practice that involves focusing on the present moment without judgements. Be grateful for the warmth of the sun or for fresh air.

Some of the benefits:

Photo by Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

Photo by Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

  • More positive emotions (joy, pleasure, optimism, happiness)

  • More alive, alert and awake

  • More forgiving of oneself and others

  • New outlook on life

  • You may start to feel more helpful or generous

  • Decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation