Gratitude is the Secret Sauce

Last May, we learned that gratitude is the secret sauce that puts you immune system back in order according to Dr. Sara Gottfried. You can read more about it in the article, Hormone Tip from Sara Gottfried.

“Every night for the next week, set aside ten minutes before you go to sleep. Write down three things that went well today and why they went well. You may use a journal or your computer to write about events, but it is important that you have a physical record of what you wrote. The three things need not be earthshaking in importance (“My husband picked up my favorite ice cream for dessert on the way home from work today”), but they can be important (“My sister just gave birth to a healthy baby boy”).

Next to each positive event, answer the question “Why did this happen?” For example, if you wrote that your husband picked up ice cream, write “because my husband is really thoughtful sometimes” or “because I remembered to call him from work and remind him to stop by the grocery store.” Or if you write, “My sister gave birth to a healthy baby boy,” you might pick as the cause “God was looking out for her” or “She did everything right during her pregnancy.”

Writing about why the positive events in your life happened may seem awkward at first, but please stick with it for one week. It will get easier. The odds are that you will be less depressed, happier, and addicted to this exercise six months from now.”
~ Martin Seligman from Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being

Martin Seligman

Photo credit: D. Myles Cullen

This particular exercise takes my daily gratitude practice one step further by having you write down why you are grateful. Since the one I teach is done as part of sitting meditation, it is inconvenient to write down the whys.

The gratitude practice that I teach also asks you to think of three (or more) events, feelings, insights, or connections that you are grateful for each day. They can be the same kind of events that Dr. Seligman is talking about. I recommend you say in your mind, “I am happy and grateful for…” and fill in the blanks for the three things. You are welcome to write them down, as Seligman recommends.

What three things are you grateful for today? Please write them down in the comments below or share them on the Meditation Practices Facebook Page.

Books by Martin Seligman

Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being

Martin E. P. Seligman

“This book will help you flourish.”

With this unprecedented promise, internationally esteemed psychologist Martin Seligman begins Flourish, his first book in ten years—and the first to present his dynamic new concept of what well-being really is. Traditionally, the goal of psych… [Read More…]

Connect with Meditation Practices

Connect with

Or enter your name and email address below.