Mindful Spotlight

August - Gratitude

Gratitude is recognizing that quite often, sources of good things in our lives are a result of our interactions with others or things that are outside of our own control. Being grateful shows that we have the capacity to realize that that other people, or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset, give us many gifts.

Being grateful allows us to appreciate the goodness in our lives. Gratitude is a connection strengthening emotion, because it requires us to see that we cannot ‘go it alone’. Gratitude has been proven to strengthen our immune systems, it lowers our blood pressure, we feel more connected to significant others and being grateful contributes to satisfaction in life overall.

  • "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.""

    ~ John F. Kennedy

  • “The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude."

    ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

  • “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

    ~ Melody Beattie

  • “It is through gratitude for the present moment that the spiritual dimension of life opens up.”

    ~ Eckhart Tolle

  • "Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."

    ~ Marcel Proust

  • "The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated."

    ~ William James

  • "Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough."

    ~ Oprah Winfrey


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Thanks!: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier by Robert Emmons

Scientifically speaking, regular grateful thinking can increase happiness by as much as 25 percent, while keeping a gratitude journal for as little as three weeks results in better sleep and more energy. But there's more than science to embrace here: Emmons also bolsters the case for gratitude by weaving in writings of philosophers, novelists, and theologians that illustrate all the benefits grateful living brings.

The Psychology of Gratitude (Series in Affective Science) by Robert Emmons and Michael E. McCullough

Gratitude, like other positive emotions, has inspired many theological and philosophical writings, but it has inspired very little vigorous, empirical research. In an effort to remedy this oversight, this volume brings together prominent scientists from various disciplines to examine what has become known as the most-neglected emotion. The volume begins with the historical, philosophical, and theoretical foundations of gratitude, then presents the current research perspectives from social, personality, and developmental psychology, as well as from primatology, anthropology, and biology.

Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence by Rick Hanson

Hardwiring Happiness lays out a simple method that uses the hidden power of everyday experiences to build new neural structures full of happiness, love, confidence, and peace. Dr. Hanson’s four steps build strengths into your brain— balancing its ancient negativity bias—making contentment and a powerful sense of resilience the new normal. In mere minutes each day, we can transform our brains into refuges and power centers of calm and happiness.

Gratitude Prayers: Prayers, Poems, and Prose for Everyday Thankfulness by June Cotner

"The selections in this book will encourage you to pay attention to things that make you laugh, the places that nourish you, the loved ones who inspire and guide you, and caring strangers who bring blessings to your days."—June Cotner

365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life by John Kralik

365 Thank Yous is a rare memoir: its touching, immediately accessible message--and benefits--come to readers from the plainspoken storytelling of an ordinary man. Kralik sets a believable, doable example of how to live a miraculously good life. To read 365 Thank Yous is to be changed.

Seasons of Grace: The Life-Giving Practice of Gratitude by John O'Neil and Alan Jones

"In this beautifully written book, Alan Jones and John O'Neil deliver a timely antidote to the stressed-out, spiritually barren lives that too many of us accept as the price of success. This is a book that may both comfort and challenge you to change your life and the world for the better." -Dean Ornish, M.D., author of Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease and Love & Survival

The Power of Appreciation: The Key to a Vibrant Life by Noelle C. Nelson, Jeannine Lemare Calaba

Research confirms that when people feel appreciated, good things happen to their minds, hearts, and bodies. The Power of Appreciation shows how to use this simple, always available tool to improve the quality of one’s own life and that of others. Based on a five-step approach to developing an appreciative mindset, this book includes scientific references, examples, worksheets, and quizzes to illustrate the value of appreciation, plus how to overcome resistance and roadblocks.

Kids Books

Care Bears: Giving Thanks by Quinlan B. Lee (Author), Jay Johnson (Illustrator)
Splat Says Thank You! (Splat the Cat) by Rob Scotton
Thank You Bear Board Book by Greg Foley
Daisy and Josephine by Melissa Gilbert


The Science of Happiness - An Experiment in Gratitude

The Science of Happiness - Calling to Say Thank You

The Science of Happiness - Behind the Scenes of "Gratitude"

The epidemic of smiles and the science of gratitude: Jennifer Moss at TEDxDistilleryDistrictWomen

Robert Emmons: Benefits of Gratitude

Christine Carter: Why Gratitude Works

Discover the Three Keys of Gratitude to Unlock Your Happiest Life!: Jane Ransom at TEDxChennai

Robert Emmons: Cultivating Gratitude

Robert Emmons: The Power of Gratitude