Did you know that your health can be impacted by practicing gratitude? By practicing gratitude every day researchers have found that people are more “thankful for experiences, have more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems.” (to read more see https://www.happify.com/hd/the-science-behind-gratitude/). Who knew that so many parts of our bodies, minds, and spirit could be positively impacted by practicing gratitude on a daily basis!
After reading through journals and articles about the benefits of practicing gratitude it inspired me to continue seeking ways of practicing mindful gratitude. Being mindful means that you set an intention to focus on something, in this case, being grateful. St. Ignatius of Loyola would call this The Examen. Two times a day, mid-day and bed time, you sit down and follow these five steps to help you unveil grateful moments through your day (even if was particularly not so great). These are the 5 steps:
- Become aware of God’s presence ( I like to do this by closing my eyes and taking a few deep breaths and focusing on the Divine.)
- Review your day with gratitude (focus in on what happened through your day and find ways of approaching it with positivity. Did you see something beautiful on your run? Were there jelly donuts in your boring meeting?)
- Pay attention to your emotions (how did these things make you feel—did that jelly donut fill you with joy? Then give thanks for the donut!)
- Choose one feature of the day and pray from it (even it was something difficult, you can be grateful that it stretched you for wisdom and understanding instead of being angry that it happened.)
- Look toward tomorrow (know that tomorrow is a new day filled with new choices and new things to challenge and stretch you and bring you joy).
This is one of the many ways to grow in gratitude and become aware that the Creator walking with us through each moment of our life. See what happens by practicing mindful gratitude for a few days and find what God unveils for you.
(for more reading on the Examen Prayer, check out this link)
Written by Pastor Rebecca Sisley