Gratitude is not a one-serving meal relegated to Thanksgiving and plates full of yummy traditions and comfort. Gratitude is an all-round accompaniment, perfect for gatherings, holidays, and quiet solitude. Gratitude travels well. It works in all kinds of weather and is never out of season, too early, or too late. Essentially, gratitude is the perfect gift to give as well as receive.

We feel good when we get in touch with our sense of gratefulness and thanks. Our energy is boosted. Our hearts expand as we move into that place of connected appreciation. Even those diligent Harvard researchers tell us that making a conscious and regular habit of gratitude benefits us both physically and emotionally. And, we know that the Buddhists, great philosophers and mystics, mind-body researchers, positive psychologists, higher consciousness teachers, and our favorite Queen of the Zeitgeist, Oprah whole-heartedly concur. Gratitude is good medicine.

I love hanging out in a place of gratitude. Sometimes, gratitude is an unexpected surprise that comes unbidden on soft little feet that taps me in the noggin with the realization of how very grateful I am for someone’s place in my life. This is especially true when the “someone-I-thought-I-was-making-me-crazy” turns out to be a blessing. I don’t know if the gods are playing with the dials behind the scenes, but all of sudden, the light shifts and I am flooded with an expanded awareness that opens my heart. And it feels so good.

Gratitude not only fills my heart, it fills my eyes. I become a watery-eyed mess when I am touched by the kindness and goodness of others. Gratitude also feeds my heart hungry for meaning and connection. It reinforces and re-cements my connections with my personal peeps along with the world at large. And this makes gratitude a form of prayer for me. It has become my bridge to the divine as it lifts me up to a place of oneness.

Gratitude, it can change your perspective, open your heart, connect you with others, touch the divine, boost your energy, and make you feel good. It is, indeed, good medicine.

Author's Bio: 

Adele Ryan McDowell, Ph.D., is a teacher, writer, and psychotherapist with 30+ years’ experience. Dr. McDowell’s work focuses on helping clients find hope, balance, and peace in the face of crisis, trauma, abuse, and grief. She has worked with suicide, domestic violence, and sexual assault crisis hotlines, survivors of Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, the Joplin Tornado, and the Newtown shooting; clients struggling with addiction as well as those moving through profound life changes such as grief and health challenges.

Dr. McDowell is the author of Balancing Act: Reflections, Meditations, and Coping Strategies for Today’s Fast-Paced Whirl. The suicide of a fellow psychologist led to the creation of her second book, Making Peace with Suicide: A Book of Hope, Understanding, and Comfort.

You can learn more about Adele, her writing, and her thinking at www.AdeleRyanMcDowell.com and www.AdeleandthePenguin.com.