You’ve probably heard this by now, but being grateful is life-changing. No wonder it has become a trend to make lists of things you are grateful for and appreciate what we have.
But do you know why and how gratitude can transform your life in a positive way?
I don’t agree with having positive thoughts all the time. This can be very stressful! We’re all just humans trying to survive in a chaotic world, anyway. It’s perfectly okay to have a negative thought sometimes! The goal should not be to try to control all your thoughts, but to cultivate a positive attitude that becomes your default. When you practice positive thinking, you can relax the constant monitoring of your thoughts.
One of the best ways I have found to cultivate positivity is through gratitude.
Here are 10 ways gratitude can improve your life!
1. Gratitude increases mental health
Studies show that practicing gratitude can boost your happiness and resilience. (A regular gratitude practice means keeping a daily or weekly gratitude journal or practicing gratitude meditations). Gratitude can help with trauma and PTSD. A study published in Behavior Research and Therapy in 2006 showed that Vietnam War Veterans experienced lower rates of PTSD when they practiced being grateful.
2. Gratitude reduces stress
Gratitude reduces stress by clearing our mind of the toxic emotions we may be feeling around frustrations, anxiety and life problems and softens their negative impact. When we have been practicing gratitude regularly, our ability to shift focus improves and our attention is more inclined to turn to the good things in life or to find the positives of a situation that otherwise it was stressful.
3. Gratitude improves physical health
Grateful people feel better physically in general. They experience less pain and illness and tend to exercise more. People who keep gratitude journals tend to take better care of their health too. Some studies show that it can even help lower blood pressure and keep the immune system healthy.
4. Gratitude helps relationships
Gratitude can increase your sense of belonging in the world, which in turn makes you feel less lonely and more connected to everyone else. It is also proven that appreciating others, literally thanking people for their contributions in your life, will benefit your relationships in general.
5. Gratitude helps us sleep better
Robert Emmons, the world’s most prolific gratitude researcher who wrote “Thanks: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happy,” encourages people to count their blessings if they can’t sleep. Moving the mind away from worries and stress and towards good things relaxes us, therefore, sleep comes easily.
6. Gratitude improves self-esteem
Being grateful can help us feel better about what we have in our lives, stop unhealthy comparisons, and appreciate that there is room for everyone to experience happiness and success in this life. When you practice gratitude, you practice self-love, which is truly vital to a happy life.
7. Gratitude makes us better
Studies have shown that people who have a daily practice of gratitude become naturally kinder; they are more likely to help someone in need or volunteer to be of service. A focus on gratitude in our own lives opens our hearts to those in need and gives us that positive boost and the ability to extend our love outward.
8. Gratitude can help us achieve our goals
People who regularly make lists of things they are grateful for are more likely to achieve personal goals or make faster progress in their careers. Gratitude can connect us to our purpose, make us see what we are capable of and give us more motivation and the ability to find solutions to challenges.
9. Gratitude makes us feel more optimistic
Gratitude can make us feel happier, more optimistic, and more in control of the path we are on in life. When our emotions led by gratitude, we begin to see more clearly in areas where we may have previously felt damaged. A feeling of optimism can bring us strength and determination to live our lives in a more purposeful way.
10. Gratitude gives us perspective
When we begin to be grateful, we begin to think less of ourselves and more of others. We develop compassion and kindness and shift the focus from our own lives and can see others with greater clarity.
Gratitude is a practice, and like all practices, consistency and determination are essential.
Feel the power of gratitude and enjoy this life-changing practice!