Quote by Cicero
Written by Nicole Schoengart , Head of Well-being at RVIVAL.
In my experience, there has never been a more true phrase. In 1996 Oprah Winfrey started writing down the top five things that she was most grateful for everyday. She still believes this was one of the best practises she ever adopted:
“I consider gratitude to be a major force field in establishing a better life. It's the foundation from which all other blessings flow. The one that is constantly unfolding goodness and mercy through your life, is gratitude. 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
I am Nicole Schoengart, the RVIVAL Well-Being lead, and I believe this too. Here is why we, at RVIVAL, practise gratitude.
What are the Benefits of Gratitude?
Gratitude has many benefits for our well-being, health and relationships. Our brains are designed to problem-solve rather than appreciate. Whilst in the wilderness it is essential to be able to problem-solve, in everyday life we must learn to override this design, to reap the full benefits of gratitude. Gratitude helps us to develop a more positive mindset, increase resilience, and cultivate mindfulness. Studies have shown that feeling thankful can improve sleep, mood and immunity. Gratitude also can decrease depres-sion, anxiety, difficulties with chronic pain and risk of disease.
Here are the five key reasons why myself and the team at RVIVAL make time to practice it:
Developing a positive mindset: by focusing on the good things in our lives, we train our brains to see the positive aspects of our experiences rather than dwelling on the negative.
Enhancing well-being: gratitude improves our overall well-being, including our physical and mental health. By focusing on what we are grateful for, we reduce stress, anxiety, and increase positive emotions like joy and contentment.
Increasing resilience: Gratitude helps us build resilience and cope with challenging situations. By focusing on what we are thankful for, we can cultivate a sense of optimism and hope, even in difficult times.
Strengthening relationships: Gratitude also improves our relationships with
others. By expressing appreciation and thanks to those around us, we strengthen our connections and increase feelings of closeness and intimacy. Behavior changes biology. Positive gestures benefit you by releasing oxytocin, a hormone that helps connect people, reduce blood pressure and cortisol levels and promotes growth and healing. Sometimes called the love drug.
Cultivating mindfulness: A gratitdude practice also helps to cultivate mindfulness, which is the ability to be present and fully engaged in the moment. By focusing on what we are grateful for, we work on increasing our awareness and appreciation of the present moment.
How to practice gratitude?
The key is to take a few daily moments to think about something you are really grateful for. Simple things like the way the sunshine catches features whilst out on a walk, a healthy lunch nurturing your body, a flower blooming showing signs of spring, a heartfelt conversation with a dear friend. Also, the more weighted elements in your life, like loved ones, a healthy body you were given, a dream job or house that you are enjoying everyday.
If you have a very busy daily schedule, just think about three things you are grateful for every night before going to bed. If you have some more time available to you, then a great way to practice gratitude, is to start the day with a positive mindset by writing down 3-5 things you are grateful for. If
you are very ambitious, you can add an evening practice, reflecting on what beautiful things you experienced that day and pick one thing you want to improve the next day.
Another beautiful way to practice gratitude is a ‘gratitude jar’. Whenever something comes to your mind that you are grateful for, write it down on a small piece of paper and ‘jar’ it. You can read through them whenever you need a reminder of all the good things in your life. There's something about taking the time to handwrite a note of gratitude rather than say, just using the notes on your phone.
Spending a few moments to hand write the things you are grateful for may sound a little ‘old fashioned’ and it is not as instant as perhaps typing information into the notes on your phone. At RVIVAL we are advocates for being less reliant on technology. Hand writing a note of gratitude will force your brain to be more involved with the information you are noting down which will have a greater impact on the practice. Writing also improves communication skills, personal development and identity building. It helps memorizing the information, because writing with your hand elevates certain areas in your brain and creates new connections. By building these connections it's easier to remember handwritten notes and have more long term benefits.
During our RVIVAL experiences, we will share daily gratitude routines with you, whilst we are set amongst wild settings in nature and stunning countryside hideways. The perfect place to reset, recharge and reconnect.
And for now we are deeply grateful for having you as a member of our newsletter and wishing you the most beautiful day!