The Practical Power of Gratitude — Lecture Notes

The Practical Power of Gratitude presented by Jerry Posner

Notes and Ideas to Consider

Gratitude is: a feeling, and/or expression of, appreciation for something good in our lives; an acknowledgment of where, directly and indirectly, goodness comes from.

What do we notice?

What do we think about it?

How do we feel about it?

What do we do about it?

“Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘till it’s gone.” Joni Mitchell

According to UC Davis Professor of Psychology Robert Emmons (widely considered the world’s scientific expert on gratitude), practicing gratitude has the ability to: make us feel good; reduce stress; lift depression; improve diet; help us sleep better; benefit our health; improve relationships; make us more likely to achieve personal goals. Gratitude can motivate us to become kinder and more compassionate.

• Grati-Tool #1 — Appreciating Those Who’ve Made a Positive Impact (Easy)

Begin a list of people (or animal companions), past or present, who have positively contributed to your life. Those who deserve thanks; who’ve loved you, were kind to you, inspired you, helped and supported you: family, friends, colleagues, teachers, service providers … even strangers. Add one name per day.

• Grati-Tool #2 — One Minute of WHAT’S GOOD! (Easy)

Take a minute, wherever you are, to notice, feel and appreciate “what’s good!”

Such as: electricity, enough to eat, comfortable shoes, clouds and trees, appliances that work, being alive. Or, pay attention to your breathing for one minute, while thinking: “I’m grateful I can breathe.”

• Grati-Tool #3 — Liberally & Sincerely EXPRESS Thanks and Appreciation (Easy)

Say “thank you!” “Thanks for helping!” “I appreciate what you did.” “Great job!” “Nice going!”

Tell the people you like, that you do. Tell the people you love, that you do. Pay it forward.

Grati-Tool #4 — Write a Daily Gratitude Journal (Becomes easy when made into a habit)

Write a daily list of five specific things — people, relationships, circumstances, feelings, abilities, talents, blessings, music, art, something that made you laugh, something that made you smile, something that warmed your heart, a great meal, etc., that you feel grateful for — reasons to feel happy, things you appreciate, people and things you’d miss if they were absent from your life. Not by rote, please!

Some Topic Sentences for Gratitude Journaling

— What am I grateful for today?

— What would I miss if it were gone?

— Who deserves my gratitude?

— In what ways am I fortunate?

— Privileges that I usually take for granted.

• Grati-Tool #5 — Happy Birthday – Grateful For Another Year! (A little work, but worth it!)

Make a gratitude list on your birthday, with one item for each year of your life.

• Grati-Tool #6 — Take a Gratitude Break (Easy and sometimes real necessary)

Close your eyes … relax … and imagine a person, thing, circumstance, situation, accomplishment, talent, ability, etc., that you’re truly and deeply grateful for — something specific that makes you feel happy. Perhaps a convenience, privilege, advantage … or maybe someone who helped you. Mentally offer a “thank you” or “I appreciate this.” Feel it. You might want to make up your own version of this.

©2022 Jerry D. Posner • jerryposner@icloud.com