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Cicero called gratitude the parent of all virtues.
The dictionary states that gratitude is the quality or state of being thankful.
The famous anthropologist Margaret Mead was asked by a student what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student expected Mead to talk about clay pots, tools for hunting, grinding stones, or religious artifacts.
Instead, Mead said that the first evidence of civilization was a 15,000-year-old fractured femur found at an archaeological site. A femur is the longest bone in the body, linking hip to knee. In societies without the benefits of modern medicine, it takes about six weeks of rest for a fractured femur to heal. This particular bone had been broken and had healed.
Mead then went on to say that in the animal kingdom, if you break your leg, you simply die. You cannot run from danger, you cannot find or drink water, or hunt for food. Wounded in this way, you are meat for your predators. No creature survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal. You are eaten first.
A broken femur that has healed is evidence that another person has taken time to stay with the fallen, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended them through recovery. A healed femur indicates that someone has helped a fellow human, rather than abandoning them to save their own life. This is evidence of civilized culture.
On that note, this podcast series is designed to help you live a greater life as a result of your gifts of gratitude.
The more gratitude you show, the more you will personally feel it. This translates into a more fulfilled life, with less stress, angst and worry. By overtly showing your thanks, you’ll be closer to your own goals and achieve more contentment along the way.
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How do you make gratitude a way of life and reap instant benefits?
20 Gifts of Gratitude for a Greater Life
1 – Write five thank-you notes daily.
It’s been proven that the simple act of writing thank you cards creates happiness not just for the receiver, but for the sender. Studies have shown the long-lasting effects of this act of gratitude. By showing thanks, we become more grateful to ourselves.
When you write thank you cards, be specific. “I’m so grateful for the kindness you showed me when I was feeling distraught last week. You really helped me and I appreciate you. I’ll never forget your support.”
2 – Keep a gratitude journal daily.
When researchers asked people to reflect on their past week and write about things that either irritated them or about which they felt grateful, those tasked with writing down positive experiences and observations were more optimistic, felt better about their lives, and actually visited their physicians less.
3 – Say a kind word. Make someone feel good about themselves unexpectedly. You can change someone’s day completely with one simple compliment. It doesn’t take anything away from you to make them feel special.
4 – Listen more than you speak. Be fascinated by who is speaking to you, instead of looking around, checking your phone or getting ready to make the conversation circle back to yourself. Make eye contact, and listen with intent to remember, not just to respond.
5 – Bring cookies or flowers to a friend, colleague or neighbor. Make dinner for someone who is recovering from an illness or just had a baby. Random acts of kindness are always appreciated.