Health Fusion: Hanging out with the Gratitude Junkie and why you want to meet him
What does it mean to be a conductor of gratitude? In this "Health Fusion" column, Viv Williams hangs out with the Gratitude Junkie, an author, speaker and entrepreneur who shares how a traumatic life event compelled him to launch a project that promotes gratitude.
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Gratitude is one of those topics that either pulls people in or compels them to reach for the clicker to turn the channel. Some people put gratitude in the category of pop science, but research about the real health benefits of being grateful continues to emerge.
For example, an article from Harvard Medical School notes that gratefulness is associated with boosts in happiness, which can enhance your mind and body. And research from Indiana University published in the journal Psychotherapy Research shows that psychotherapy patients who participated in writing letters that expressed gratitude toward others reported better mental health than those who didn't do gratitude writing.
Chris Palmore, the "Gratitude Junkie" has experienced the health benefits of gratitude first hand. And he's made a career out of spreading the word.
"Why should we do be grateful? Gratitude is good for you," says Palmore, an author, radio host and creator of gratitudespace.com . "Everything in your life will be better. You will feel better, you will look better, you will move around better, you will be more present and you will enjoy things more."
He should know. Palmore turned a family tragedy into a project that works to improve lives through gratitude. In a recent interview for "Health Fusion," Palmore shared some tips on how you can make gratitude part of your daily life and why you should give it a try.
"It all started when I wrote my mom a gratitude letter on my birthday," says Palmore. "Because without her, it wouldn't have happened. That day should be for her."
Four months later, Palmore's mom passed away after battling breast cancer.
"My dad's love for my mom gave me massive perspective in my grief," says Palmore. "She was my mom, but to him, she was her life."
Palmore says his dad, while crushed by losing his wife, was also grateful about every second he had with her. That helped Palmore to embrace gratefulness instead of grief. The experience inspired him to teach gratefulness to others, and he outlines the basics of being grateful in a new book, The Mechanics of Gratitude.
The book is a road map to what Palmore calls the five stages of a gratitude practice.
- Step 1: Acknowledging reflexive gratitude. This type of gratitude is a reaction, such as saying "thank you." It's polite, but often emotionless and hollow.
- Step 2: Practice intentional gratitude: Intentional gratitude is the act of participating in something for which you're grateful, such as writing a daily list or taking a walk and noticing and appreciating the scenery.
- Step 3: Make it Emotional: Emotional gratitude is the practice of asking why you're grateful for something and then finding meaning in it.
- Step 4: Relational gratitude: This step is what Palmore says makes life magical. Relational gratitude happens when you're completely present during an interaction with another person.
- Step 5: Catalyzing gratitude: This step is when you purposefully create situations for the magical moments to exist.
"Making magical moments and spaces for gratitude is easier than you think," says Palmore. "You can start by giving someone you're talking to your complete attention or smiling at them as you walk by. It's intentionally creating a moment that someone will remember."
You can learn more about Chris, the Gratitude Junkie, at gratitudespace.com .
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