10 finger gratitude exercise

Hear from Kate, a community stoma care nurse.

From A Bigger Life

What is the science of gratitude?

The Science of Gratitude: Researchers from the University of California, studied the effects of gratitude on over 1,000 people. The participants in this research ranged from eight to eighty, and were split into two groups. One group was asked to keep a journal in which they were to write five ‘gifts’ that they were grateful for each day, while the other group had to write down five ‘hassles’. Some examples of the ‘gifts’ people noted were generosity of friends, and watching a sunset through the clouds. Examples of ‘hassles’ were things like difficulty in finding a parking space, and burning their dinner. Researchers found that those who had focused on gratitude on a daily basis experienced significant psychological, physical and social benefits: a 25% improvement in overall health and wellbeing in comparison with the group focusing on what had gone wrong each day.
Here is a video of quick and easy gratitude exercise for you to try:

This is a very quick daily exercise which will have a very powerful effect on your day. It can be a good idea to do it first thing in the morning or last thing at night. In that way the grateful thoughts are more easily imprinted into the mind unconscious. Bring to mind 10 things which you appreciate in your life today, counting them on your fingers. It’s important to get to 10 things, even when over time it becomes increasingly hard after four or five! This is exactly what the exercise is about – consciously bringing into your awareness the previously unnoticed elements in your day and life. And because your mind can only think of one thing at once, while you are focusing on the good aspects of your life you are unable to focus on anything that may be not be quite as good.

Here is an example of my 10 finger gratitude exercise:
1. I appreciate my family and my friends
2. I appreciate my job which gives me stability and income
3. I appreciate that Today is a beautiful sunny day
4. I appreciate that I can put food on the table when I want it
5. I appreciate Living close to the sea
6. I appreciate that work provides a chance to meet so many wonderful people
7. I appreciate the birds singing outside my window when I wake up every morning
8. I appreciate technology and all the ways it helps me to keep in touch with my family and friends
9. I appreciate all the delicious food I have in my fridge
10.I appreciate being alive and well.

Now imagine doing that every day, that’s 70 things you appreciate a week. And what about a year? That’s 3,640 things you’d appreciate in your life – just in one year. And in 20 years you would have appreciated 72,800 things. Isn’t it easy to see how this would have a very positive effect on your thought processes and your resultant happiness levels. So why not give it a go? It will literally take two minutes of your time. You can say the 10 things in your head discreetly, using your fingers to count them out. I can guarantee you’ll feel good after doing it. So give it a go and Enjoy!


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