The Pledge: Day 17 – GRATITUDE

Practice Gratitude

by Holly Cara Price , The Fresh 20 Social Media Manager, featuring Dr. Neha Sangwan

It may seem hard to believe, but being grateful for the blessings you’re given can change your life. If you’re actively making an effort to count your blessings your entire outlook can and will change, and it will attract more good things to you. Per a recent article in Good Housekeeping Magazine, “Academics studying the subject have found that feeling grateful and expressing it decreases stress, increases happiness, and generally makes people feel better about life.”

We spoke with communication expert Neha Sangwan, M.D., about this recently. Dr. Sangwan will publish her first book next year with Hay House to examine how effective communication impacts not only our emotional and mental health, but also our physical health. She’s a physician, coach, author and speaker. The power of gratitude is a subject she discusses at length in the book, and it’s an important part of her daily practice.

Dr. Sangwan says, “Gratitude is one of the most compelling ways to heal, but in the midst of challenging situations, toxic work environments, and tough relationships, we often forget it. Just like smiles and a few deep breaths, gratitude is one of the most abundant, low-cost, high-yield, effective strategies to make yourself feel better in the moment.”

Here are a few quick ways Dr. Sangwan suggests to incorporate gratitude today:

  1. Take a nice deep breath in, focus your attention on someone or something you’re grateful for and smile on your exhale. Do this for three breaths. By consciously guiding your body and thoughts, do you feel different?
  2. Gratitude is often most useful when it seems counter-intuitive to what’s happening around you. For example, many of my patients experience deep healing once they become thankful for their illness or health crisis because it forced them to slow down and re-prioritize what’s most important to them. Even when you face a tough situation, can you find the lesson to be grateful for?
  3. Gratitude presents itself in many forms. Some people are most comfortable writing it in an email or verbalizing it. Others show their appreciation by buying a thoughtful gift. And yet others nurture their loved ones with home-cooked meals or hugs. How do you most often express gratitude? What’s one new way you can show your appreciation today?
  4. Keep a gratitude journal and write down three things you’re grateful for each day. The benefit is that focusing your attention on those aspects of your day will change your perspective.
  5. Gratitude is an invisible bridge that connects us to one another. We all appreciate being appreciated. When other people show you gratitude, do you let it in? Instead of brushing it off, next time, try taking a deep breath and saying THANK YOU.

Gratitude is one of the most powerful and healing emotions, but it may take practice. It’s the key to a peaceful heart. Being thankful is a simple way to ground yourself,” says Dr. Sangwan. “It can shift you from whatever you’re experiencing to a much more peaceful place. It changes your perspective and reconnects you to yourself as well as others.

Give it a try for a few days and see how you can achieve a fundamental shift in the way you see the world.

What are you grateful for? Let us know in your comments below.

For more information on Dr. Neha Sangwan and her groundbreaking work,