“Be grateful for what you have.”
Such a simple concept. Yet I’ve always understood it at such an abstract level. I didn’t understand it then because sometimes it’s hard to find what you can be grateful for when life is not fair! There are things in life that we cannot control (like where you were born, rich or poor, in good or poor health, etc.)
It’s far too easy for most people to wallow in the negativity of the world and all that isn’t “perfect” in our lives. Then I realized that the energy you put out to feel negative is equal to the energy you use to feel positive. The difference is in the output – you feel bad or you feel good!
The Effects of Gratitude
Many of us express gratitude by saying “thank you” to someone who has helped us or given us a gift. From a scientific perspective, however, gratitude is not just an action: it is also a positive emotion that serves a biological purpose.
Positive psychology defines gratitude in a way where scientists can measure its effects, and thus argue that gratitude is more than feeling thankful: it is a deeper appreciation for someone (or something) that produces longer-lasting effects.
Any gratitude activity will contribute to breaking through the negativity and help us refocus on what is good. So the more we appreciate exactly where we are, exactly how it is, the more peaceful we can feel inside.
I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness—it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.” ~Brené Brown
The benefits of practicing gratitude are nearly endless. People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they’re thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems.
Benefits from having the “Attitude of Gratitude”
When we express and receive gratitude, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin- popularly known as the “feel-good drug”, these are the two crucial neurotransmitters responsible for our happy emotions. Try the 30 DAY SELF LOVE: THE CHALLENGE TO TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE
Builds High Self-Esteem
Social media is a powerful force that affects self-esteem. Studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons. So rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs. Grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments.
Creates Inner Strength
You may discover that one of the psychological benefits of gratitude is better adapting coping abilities. Gratitude increases mental strength. For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma.
Creates more Optimism
Showing our gratitude not only helps others feel more positive but also makes us think more positively.
Another benefit to both ourselves and others, gratitude can decrease our self-centeredness and breed willingness to share and be helpful to others.
Opens the Door to Healthy Relationships
Not only does saying “thank you” constitute good manners, but showing appreciation can help you win new friends. In a 2014 study published in Emotion, the study found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship.
Decreases Negative Emotions
When we practice gratitude, we magnify positive feelings more than reduce negative feelings. With all that’s going on in the world, it can be tempting to focus on the negative. Try to focus on the positive and the world seems to give you positivity in return.
The benefits of gratitude go beyond emotions. Choosing to be grateful can actually make you more open to the emotions of others. Studies have shown that gratitude increases empathy and therefore changes behavior. It Improves psychological health and reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Including reducing aggression and decreasing the desire to retaliate.
Coping with Stress in Healthy Ways
Gratitude essentially leads people to see the world through rose-colored glasses. According to Alex Wood the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. “This perception of the world as a hospitable place may likely lead to an increased willingness to deal actively with problems.”
Enhance Self Control and Reactions to Negative Events
Not only do grateful people seem to engage in helpful habits when they’re faced with stress. Research suggests that gratitude also enhances our reactions when faced with challenging events.
PHYSICAL HEALTH BENEFITS
It’s not surprising that grateful people have the habit of taking care of their health. They exercise more often, experience fewer aches and pains, they report feeling healthier. They’re more likely to attend regular check-ups with their doctors.
The brain is our most powerful organ. Our thoughts influence our behaviors, our state, and even our physical health. Therefore, this kind of mindset contributes to further longevity.
Some amazing health benefits of gratitude include
- Better Sleep- Grateful people sleep better
- Low Blood Pressure – Grateful people are less stressed
- Boosts Immunity & Decreases your risk of disease
- More drive to Exercise – Grateful people love to be Active
- Amazing Health – Grateful people are conscious of their overall wellbeing
A few tips to help you get started:
- Keep a gratitude journal. Write in a gratitude journal every day. Jot down what you’re grateful for in the present, the future, and even the past.
- Use gratitude cues. A new habit needs reminders and cues. This is a great way to stay on course. Find a “snap out of it” cue, to remind you to come back to the present thought, instead of drifting to negative thoughts.
- Keep a gratitude jar. Prepare an empty jar, scratch paper, and a pen in an accessible place at home. When a positive thought comes to mind, write it on paper and drop it in the jar.
We all have the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. Simply take a few moments to focus on all that you have rather than complain about all the things you think you deserve.
The more Grateful you are, the more happy and contented life will be.
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