The word gratitude is derived 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. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives.
The practice of gratitude has been proven to have many benefits not only emotionally but also physically. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), gratitude can also bring balance to the meridians in the body.
An effective and easy way to practice gratitude in your daily life is by playing a game called The Rampage of Appreciation, developed by Esther and Jerry Hicks. According to Esther and Jerry Hicks in their book The Law of Attraction, The Rampage of Appreciation game can be played anywhere and at any time because it is easily played by simply directing pleasant thoughts to your mind.
Begin by looking around your immediate environment and gently noticing something that pleases you. Try to hold your attention on this pleasing object as you consider how wonderful, beautiful, or useful it is. And as you focus upon it longer, your positive feelings about it will increase.
Now, notice your improved feeling, and be appreciative of the way you feel. Then, once your good feeling is noticeably stronger than when you began, look around your environment and choose another pleasing object for your positive attention.
The longer you focus upon things that feel good to you, the easier it is for you to maintain those vibrational frequencies that feel good.
In regards to TCM, gratitude has positive benefits fro the body’s organs and meridians. The two organ systems that are most impacted by practicing gratitude are the Kidneys and the Liver. The Kidneys are our deepest energy reservoir, our genetic expression, and our body’s ability to sustain homeostasis. The Kidney energy that we originally start with is called our prenatal Jing and our daily practices can affect the way we nurture or harm our energy, which creates post-natal Jing. People who “burn the candle at both ends” are more likely to have adrenal burnout or fatigue.
A practice of breathing combined with thankfulness does a world of good for our kidney energy. It restores the energy at a deep level, while emotions like fear weaken our kidney energy. Our kidneys are most rejuvenated through rest and repair and gratitude is a powerful example of that.
The Liver is the other energy system impacted by this practice. The Liver is what controls our emotional realm and strongly relates to anxiety & depression. When our Liver energy is stuck, we feel as though there’s nothing we can do to impact our current emotional state. We feel as though we are at the affect of our emotions, rather than being able to create and design our lives.
The practice of gratitude is the start of the shifting. Focusing on what IS working and not what’s lacking, allows us to know that all is not lost and we are in an even better position than we may have originally thought.
The effects of gratitude on the body are immense and backed up by Western Medicine.
In a study by Robert A. Emmons, of the University of California, and Davis and Michael E. McCullough, of the University of Miami, people who kept gratitude journals showed higher levels of health and well-being than people who focused on hardships.
After 2 months, the people who documented their gratitude felt more optimistic and happier than their control counterparts. They reported fewer physical problems and spent more time working out. People with neuromuscular problems who did the same thing fell asleep more quickly, slept longer and woke up feeling more refreshed.
In a related study, researchers at the University of Connecticut found that gratitude can have a protective effect against heart attacks. Studying people who had experienced one heart attack, the researchers found that those patients who saw benefits and gains from their heart attack, such as becoming more appreciative of life, experienced a lower risk of having another heart attack.
It has also been proven that people who practice gratitude report fewer illness symptoms, feel better about their lives as a whole, and are more optimistic about the future.
The benefits of gratitude are many and profound. Being grateful is shown to improve both physical and mental health, psychological wellbeing and attitude, and our relationships with others. Practicing gratitude has even been shown to rewire our brains for the better and have immense benefits for the soul—it is a truly powerful life-changing tool.
A great way to actively begin reaping the benefits of gratitude is to practice The Rampage of Appreciation daily, it can take only 30 seconds, you can do it once or as many times a day as you like, it’s as easy as that!
Once the gratitude river starts flowing, reasons to be grateful in life suddenly seem to multiply! Setting a reminder on your phone at a time you know you are not too busy each week is a great way to ensure you keep up with your practice.
The present body of research strongly supports the idea that gratitude practice really makes perfect. The more gratitude practice you perform in daily life, the deeper the benefits go and the more profound and life-altering the benefits truly are. Ultimately fostering gratitude as a general way of being is where the real magic is.