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Your Brain, Health & Happiness – 5 Steps to Unlock the Power of Gratitude 2 of 2

001 Gratitude0A plethora of evidence, taken together, suggests gratitude may be the main ingredient to a more fulfilling, meaningful life and relationships, even work and career.

The power of gratitude, as an action-activating catalyst, rests in its ability to make it easier, more effortless — and fun, enjoyable — to take action or to make positive changes. It’s stands apart from other positive emotions in that it’s also the fastest, quickest way to energize other high energy emotional states, such as compassion, enthusiasm, purpose and joy, among many others — to optimize your own state of mind and body.

This makes gratitude a powerful agent for change.

There’s nothing like gratitude, for example, to help us stop taking a loved one for grated (a healthy fear), and make a firm and lasting decision to put away certain “wants” or petty behaviors that are causing harm and distance between us…!

Gratitude is a choice you reach for to consciously create a nutrient rich life rather than live life just going through the motions, letting it pass you by. As stated in Part 1, it is an activity you consciously and regularly choose — not a mere want; rather a need (like breathing or nutrient rich food) — to keep replenishing the flow of Life in your life. (An essential task in all of nature, by the way.)

If you’re considering gratitude as a practice, there are many books, articles and ideas to pull from, such as the book, Gratitude Works! A 21 Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity.

In this post, here are a few more outlined in the following 5 steps:

1. Set an intention for the coming year(s), a day at a time, to affirm and cultivate the practice of every day gratitude in your life.

Setting an intention charges your imagination, and thus, gets your subconscious mind focused and involved. This makes it more likely you’ll follow through with action. Action is essential by the way, big or small, such as shifting to a mindset of gratitude — it seals the deal! Keep the following principle in mind: Nothing is too small or inconsequential to appreciate.

2. Connect to what you feel grateful for each day, especially at the end (or beginning) of a day; or find a regular time that works best for you.

During this time, take a minute or two to close your eyes, take a few long, deep breaths … and connect to what you feel grateful for that day or the previous. (If nothing comes to mind, ask yourself what could you be thankful for, or appreciate, if you wanted to feel grateful?) Consciously feel the feelings of gratitude radiate throughout your body with every breath — or consciously feel its pulse and rhythm with every beat of your heart. In other words, make it a conscious-sensory experience of your mind directing the energies of your body, like a conductor of a huge symphony orchestra.

3. Similar to step 2, connect to what another person, perhaps a loved one, did to make your life more wonderful, following the same guidelines.

Then, in this grateful state of mind, set an intention to look for an opportunity in the near future, preferably the next day or so, to express your gratitude, either in person or with a hand written note, telling him or her what action you appreciated and how this enriched your life, and so on.

4. Keep a journal in which you list what you’re grateful for each day.

This can be a source of inspiration to reach for on days when you need reminders of the power of gratitude to manifest more of what you notice and appreciate! For certain loved ones, such as your partner, you may wish to keep a separate section in your journal or notebook.

5. Phrase your gratitude as affirmations that ignite your imagination and optimal emotion states. Look for ideas in books, articles, online etc.

The point here is to keep your statements energized with positive emotions. Speaking of “points,” be sure to put a period at the end of each statement, to consciously avoid adding any “but” words or statements such as, “but I wish you would also” or “now only if you would …” etc.

Below is a list of affirming statements of gratitude to consider and chose from, or revise accordingly to make them your own. Notice that gratitude can range from being micro-experience, i.e., for a cup of tea in your hands, or a macro-experience, i.e., for the wondrous ways that connect y-o-u (and me) to every star in the Universe. Wow.

I am grateful for the unlimited power I have to make a difference in my world.

I am grateful for all the persons in my life, and appreciate the unique love they bring, their unique contributions, and special ways they express their love for me and others.

I am grateful for my ability to chose at any moment what is good and healthy for my mind, body, spirit.

I am grateful for choosing to cultivate and to learn how to better resolve problems and issues with others in my life.

I am grateful for being open and willing to listen and to understand others in my life when they need to express difficult feelings, and for their willingness to do the same for me.

I am grateful for all those who enrich our world and environment with their talents, efforts, creativity, struggles, passion, intelligence and wisdom, who create a legacy for us to follow and meaningfully contribute in return.

I am grateful for all the ways in which the world is a safe and wonderful place, and for the countless number of people who work diligently around the clock to make a better, safer, more peaceful, wonderful world for all.

I am grateful for healing or working relationships with others, and the ways our hearts and minds have the ability to work together to co-create an ever more peaceful world in which every child is born in enriching environments in which they can best thrive and become the best version of themselves, and is welcomed by loving hearts that cherish them, strong, secure arms to hold them, and knowing eyes to believe and encourage them to be all they can be.

And be sure to add a statement or two to give thanks for your commitment to express more gratitude, such as:

I am thankful for my commitment to be and express gratitude for all that I have, for all that I give and am given, for all that I am and grow to be — and for all the persons who have enriched and contributed in some way to my life and the person I am today.

I am grateful for all the ways I’m growing, learning to practice gratitude, and how this will support me to grow the compassion and wisdom I need to better handle any challenges.

Yearning yet to bask in gratitude perhaps?

Gratitude is an ever present choice to replenish, refresh, revitalize the flow of Life in our life. It is a powerful way to fulfill our inner yearnings to meaningfully connect, a reminder that it’s up to us to appreciate our life, and never miss out on a single blessing or offering of love and kindness Life expresses and has for us.

So, are you grateful for?

Share the joy of living in gratitude with someone today. You’ll be gratefully glad, and that’s a good thing.

Your Brain, Health & Happiness – 5 Steps to Unlock the Power of Gratitude 2 of 2

Athena Staik, Ph.D.

Relationship consultant, author, licensed marriage and family therapist, Dr. Athena Staik motivates clients to break free of anxiety, emotion reactivity, and other addictive patterns, to awaken wholehearted relating to self and other. She is currently in private practice in Northern VA, and writing her book, What a Narcissist Means When He Says 'I Love You'": Breaking Free of Addictive Love in Couple Relationships. To contact Dr. Staik for information, an appointment or workshop, visit, or visit on her two Facebook fan pages DrAthenaStaik and DrStaik

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APA Reference
Staik, A. (2014). Your Brain, Health & Happiness – 5 Steps to Unlock the Power of Gratitude 2 of 2. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 22, 2020, from


Last updated: 2 Jan 2014
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