Cognitive vs Emotional Gratitude
I am so intrigued by the five minute journaling approach, after hearing an interview with UJ Ramdas, one of the people who came up with the concept. (The journal is simply a place to record quick answers to a set of five questions you ask yourself every day. Answering these questions is supposed to make you happier.)
The first question is about gratitude. (List 3 things you are grateful for.)
I've heard many times in many places that cultivating a gratitude practice is one of the best things you can do to stay happy. But I had not heard that there are two kinds of gratitude: cognitive and emotional. And, according to UJ Ramdas, you can't really gain the full benefits of a gratitude practice unless you are tapping into the emotional side of gratitude.
In other words, it's not enough to just think up what you're grateful for and write those things down. You have to actually pause, focus on those things, and wait until you feel the gratitude. You have to feel it in your body. Like a warm glow in your belly. Only once you really feel it, not just think it, are you tapping into gratitude's power.
He explained that if you want to improve your happiness, which is an emotional state, we need to use an emotional process. We can't just think our way to a happier place. This makes so much sense to me, I just had to share it.
Hope it sparks for you too!
Spark of the Day is a blog series where I document and share the ideas that spark (i.e. resonate with) me. They are usually either ideas I come across during my day, or ideas I have as a result of my work and personal writing. Spark is the "one word" I have chosen for 2015.