The other day, I finally finished reading Spontaneous Happiness by Dr. Andrew Weil. It had been on my must-read list since the day it was published, so when I saw it on Amazon for $3.20 a few months ago, I hurriedly bought it. It was a slow start for me, given I was reading other things at the time. Then the holidays came, and life became hectic.
But amid the chaos and busyness, I took solace in reading this book, which prescribed so many practical ways to “increase emotional resilience and shift [my] emotional set point in the direction of greater positivity” (p. 11).
While I was reading this book, the year changed, and because I’m active in social media, status updates and tweets about resolutions were everywhere. Which was a good thing, actually. This meshed with what I was reading and gave me pause to think about how I could incorporate Dr. Weil’s advice for happiness into my life by making positive changes–in particular, cultivating more gratitude.
“Regularly practicing grateful thinking can move your emotional set point for happiness by as much as 25 percent in the right direction…. From the research data that I have reviewed, I consider expressing gratitude to be one of the very best strategies to enhance emotional well-being, right up there with fish oil, physical activity, and managing negative thoughts. Like forgiveness, gratitude can be cultivated” (p. 189).
You may remember me telling you about the gratitude app I’ve been using for several years. Well, I’m happy to say that since 2013 began, I haven’t missed a day (mostly due to the 7:00 pm alarm that reminds me to write my list each night)!
I’m kicking that up a notch. I’m bringing back the art of letter writing, for one thing. Some of my friends and family can expect letters expressing my gratitude to them for being who they are. I excitedly bought cute handmade stationery from Etsy the other day to make letter writing even more fun for me and maybe for the recipients.
Photographs also are a fun way to capture moments of gratitude. It is easy to re-conjure feelings of gratitude simply by accessing a few photos. So, I leave you with my visual reminders of gratitude this past week.