What is Gratitude?
There are two key elements to gratitude. The first is an affirmation of goodness. The other is a recognition and affirmation of sources outside ourselves.
If you Google the evidence or benefits of gratitude, the following seven items will show up in several articles, each elaborating on the details in various ways:
- Opens doors to more relationships
- Improves physical health
- Improves psychological health
- Enhances empathy and reduces aggression
- Improve sleep quality
- Improves self-esteem
- Increases mental strength
With a list like that, what more could there be? I think there is one in particular that gets missed because it requires the additional element of extended time.
“Bathe in the Moment”
Taking a long pause to reflect when coupled with gratitude is a special form of savoring in which we not only focus and fully experience the benefit we enjoy but acknowledge the gifts we have been given that have made the experience possible.
One of my favorite metaphors for the long, reflective and grateful pause is one a mentor of mine coined as “Bathing in the Moment”. And Bathing in the Moment isn’t just sacred, it’s essential if you want to be intentional about making memories of a well lived life.
My great-grandmother is the one who really helped me get perspective on this (she lived to be 106). A widow for the last 25yrs of her life, she spent a lot of time alone and much of that on her back porch swing. One day during a visit I asked her if she ever got bored. She said “No, I always have my memories and they make for good company.” I think that’s what J.M. Barrie meant when he said, “God gave us memories to be rose gardens in the December of our lives.” All too true although little ironic for the creator of Peter Pan.
So while it looks different for everyone, Bathing in the Moment activates gratitude’s 8th benefit, which is a long-term one: a rose garden of memories for your future.
How About You?
When is the last time you’ve bathed….in the moment? Regardless of how little or how often you do, This coming Thursday is a good time to invest in yourself and get some additional practice.