The Most Important Question You Can Ask

What are you grateful for

A growing body of research shows that when people practice gratitude, they feel happier, sleep better and are less depressed; they have more goodwill for others and fewer health problems. They notice these differences in themselves and the changes are visible to their spouses as well.  Studies have shown that people who practice both forgiveness and gratitude have the highest rates of happiness of all.

In an article entitled The Neuroscience of Graitude, Ocean Robbins (Common Ground, November 2014) writes:

[G]ratitude, it turns out, makes you  happier and healther.  If you invest in a way of seeing the world that is mean and frustrated, you’re going to get a world that is, well, more mean and frustrating. But if you can find any authentic reason to give thanks, anything that is going right with the world or your life, and put your attention thre, then research says you’re going to be better off.

Gratitude does not mean denying problems in your life or in the world around you. It means putting less focus on the problems and more on areas of authentic appreciation.

So here it is — the most important question you can ask:

What am I genuinely grateful for? 

It takes time to cultivate gratitude at first, but its well worth the investment. Here are three simple practices Robbins suggests:

  • Keep a daily journal of three things you are thankful for. This works well frst thing in the morning or just before you go to bed.
  • Tell a spouse, partner, friend something you appreciate about them every day.  
  • Look in the mirror when you brush your teeth and think of something you like about yourself.
What are you genuinely grateful for?  This question can profoundly impact your life. The more you ask (and answer) it the happier you will be!


About Eileen Barker

EILEEN BARKER has been writing and speaking on forgiveness, and guiding people who need to either forgive themselves or someone else, for many years. A practicing litigation lawyer who rejected the traditional adversarial role, Eileen has focused her practice on mediation, helping thousands of people resolve disputes outside of court. This work led her into a deep exploration of forgiveness as it relates to resolving conflict and making peace, both with others and oneself.

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