Finding Gratitude: The Mediterranean Way

Practice Mediterranean Diet and Lifestyle with Expressions of Gratitude

What is the definition of gratitude? Here is one definition: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

With the Thanksgiving season upon us, I feel more inspired than usual to express my gratitude. In the company of friends and family, I enjoy sharing stories and celebrating the history that we share. This is an excellent practice that I encourage as a year-round tradition. In fact, I highly recommend a practice of expressing gratitude daily, which is also an essential part of living a Mediterranean lifestyle.

One easy way to begin practicing gratitude is to appreciate your food. In the Mediterranean tradition, take time to enjoy the food that you are about to eat. Eat slowly, savoring each bite. Reflect on the source of the food. Imagine the natural environment in which it grew, the people that helped it to flourish, and all of the steps that it took before landing on your plate.

Cultivating gratitude is an exercise that is both heart-felt and practical. Here are some helpful resources for maintaining a more grateful state of being:

Stop by the wonderful network for grateful living at www.gratefulness.org They also have a Facebook page. Like their page and have nuggets of gratefulness sneak their way into your Facebook feed.

One of my top favorite tools for cultivating gratitude is “Gratitude Works: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity.” This small book is authored by Robert A. Emmons, who also wrote the best-selling book titled simply “Thanks.” Gratitude Works gets high marks and offers a practical approach to tap into the benefits of gratitude. It’s a step-by-step guide that offers up effective daily gratitude practices.

Stop by Gratitude.com and get a mindfulness app to share five gratitudes a day. You can get reminders to write down your gratitudes and also share your gratitudes to social media. After a few weeks of documenting what you are grateful for, being grateful will become more of a habit and develop into a practice.

Emmons is also exploring gratitude with UC Davis. He is doing cutting edge research on the impacts of gratitude. You can learn more here.

Cultivating gratitude might seem like a luxury, but it can have a huge impact on your health and happiness. Studies show that gratitude can even improve your blood pressure and your immune function. I have been sharing a New York Times article on the healthy benefits of gratitude. I think you’ll enjoy it too! Stop here to read “A Serving of Gratitude May Save the Day.” WebMD also has some great information on the benefits of gratitude. Stop by here to read the article.

Photo Credit: Sam Rizzo

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