Benefits of Practicing Gratitude
Benefits of Practicing Gratitude
12/7/20 Laura Gibbons
Practicing gratitude is an important daily habit that can increase your overall well-being. Gratitude is the state of feeling grateful or thankful. The act of gratitude can feel more difficult when stressed or challenged, but becomes more important during these times to find positivity and appreciation. To practice gratitude and experience the benefits, start with these tips:
Begin each day with gratitude. Setting the tone for our day is important. Take just a couple minutes each morning to acknowledge the things, people, opportunities, and lessons for which you are grateful. You may also set a daily affirmation that creates the lens you look through for a grateful life. For example, “I find something to be grateful for everyday” or “I choose to be thankful no matter my circumstances.”
Start a gratitude journal. Find some undistracted time each day to journal. During this time, identify at least three things you were grateful for that day. However, don’t fall on repeat. The goal is to find gratitude in even the smallest of things day-to-day so that we become more aware of the gifts around us. Set a time commitment and even buy yourself a new journal that inspires you to begin this gratitude journey.
Be present to savor moments. We live in a busy world – rushing through things, multi-tasking, and getting distracted. This leaves us at risk for missing important moments. “Stop and smell the roses” refers to slowing down, pausing, being more present and engaged, and savoring the moments as they are happening so that they don’t otherwise pass us by. Cherishing these positive moments adds to our gratefulness.
Remembering good times. Remembering good times that had a positive impact is a reminder that gratitude is additive and shapes our lives. Reflecting on important moments, sharing memorable times with others, and looking through pictures that capture those special moments, is a reminder that we have much to be grateful for even in difficult times.
Share your appreciation with someone. Write a letter to someone you feel thankful for and who has made an impact on you (you can choose whether you send it) or tell someone directly how grateful you are for them.
There are many benefits of practicing gratitude – here are a few:
- Fosters relationships. Whether you are thanking a stranger, a colleague, or someone in your life, a thank you goes a long way and makes people feel appreciated and valued.
- Improves physical health. Practicing gratitude is associated with less stress, better sleep, and decreased depression. Grateful people tend to live a healthier lifestyle, experience less ailments, and overall feel healthier.
- Enhances emotional health. When you focus more on positive rather than negative thinking, you dwell less on toxic emotions: anger, jealousy, bitterness, resentment, dissatisfaction, fear, and anxiety. Increasing positive emotions promotes resiliency and better coping with stress and life’s challenges.
- Increases empathy. When you can empathize with others and reduce victim behavior, you have more capacity to feel for others and show compassion. It encourages a better understanding of ourselves, and those around us.
- Increases self-esteem and self-worth. When we are grateful, we are less likely to make comparisons and feel less than if others are perceived as having more and you think you are not measuring up.
Despite life’s ups-and-downs, gratitude allows us to see the light even amongst the clouds and helps us better cope with life’s circumstances.