Is there a right dose of Gratitude?
It's absolutely clear that appreciating things we're grateful for is good for our mental and physical well being as well as our relationships. Someone told me once you can't be angry and grateful at the same time. This is absolutely true! Try it yourself! It's a powerful antidote to anger and I'll take any tool I can get to tame anger because, as Aristotle said, "Anybody can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way - that is not within everybody's power and is not easy."
How can we form a habit of gratitude? Most experts say to write it down, e.g. keep a gratitude journal. 5 things a week that we're grateful for.
Why? Because writing it down takes motor and conscious awareness so a deeper gratitude can take root.
Can you build tolerance to gratitude? It seems the answer is YES. In a study by Sonja Lyubomirsky people who wrote in a gratitude journal once a week for six weeks had increased their level of happiness whereas those who wrote in their journal three times a week did not. Why? It seems that we become accustomed or maybe people who write it more often just do it without savoring or appreciating the depth of gratitude.
Once a week, make a conscious decision to be happier and more grateful. Write down 5 things you're grateful for. Focus on people more, things less, and go deep into why you appreciate them. It can be simple things as well, as long as you feel true joy: for example, snuggling into soft sheets and blankets into a warm bed when it's cold outside.
Side Effects: You may find yourself focusing on things you're grateful for on the fly! No special place, time, paper needed!
With much gratitude,
Juna Bobby, M.D.