Practicing gratitude helps us to put our lives into perspective. When we can see the good as well as the bad it becomes much more difficult to complain or to stay stuck in our unhappiness.
Gratitude helps us to see and appreciate all that we have; it can also reduce our need for wanting more.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of our life. It turns what we have into enough, and more! It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, and confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” – Melody Beattie
Gratitude helps us to stay in and celebrate each present moment. It strengthens relationships, reduces stress, improves health, and overall gratitude makes us happier. This is because gratitude encourages us to appreciate all of the gifts in our lives and to repay pay them forward to others.
If you haven’t been convinced yet on why practicing gratitude can lead to a happier and healthier life keep reading, there is proof through the last ten years of research.
The benefits of practicing gratitude, even during times of adversity (confronting death, struggling with long term illness and disease, etc.) has been the most reliable method for increasing happiness and overall life satisfaction. According to researchers, practicing gratitude:
- Increases our feelings of optimism, joy, pleasure, and enthusiasm.
- Strengths our immune system, lowers blood pressure, reduces symptoms of illness, makes us less annoyed by aches and pains and encourages us to exercise more and take better care of our health.
- Improves our sleep by spending less time awake before falling asleep and feeling more refreshed when we wake. If you want to sleep more soundly count your blessings – not sheep. 🙂
- Makes us more resilient and has been found to help people recover from traumatic events including those with PTSD.
- Makes us feel closer and more committed to friends and romantic partners. When we feel and express gratitude for each other we become more satisfied with our relationships.
Okay, are you convinced of the power of gratitude? I am!
Here’s a few ways you can cultivate gratitude:
- Notice your world from a point of gratitude. Enjoy the wonder and amazement at all of the good we take for granted.
- Keep a Gratitude Journal. Write in it everyday at least 3 – 5 things you are grateful for.
- Give at least one compliment a day. This can be towards a person or by asking someone to share your appreciation of something. Did you notice how gorgeous those clouds were today….we are so lucky that we live here.
- When you find yourself in a sticky or negative situation, ask what can I learn from this? When you look back, without emotion, what will you be grateful for?
- Make a promise to not complain, criticize, or gossip for two weeks. If you slip, gather your willpower and keep going. Notice the amount of energy you were spending on negative thoughts and actions.
- Become involved in a cause that is important to you. Donate your time, money or talent. You will gain a greater appreciation for the cause and in turn they will appreciate you.
Gratitude is a powerful component to our happiness. It is through an attitude of gratitude that we can make a huge difference not only in our own happiness, but also in the lives of others.
Here are ten motivational quotes that can get our attitude of gratitude jump-started:
“Gratitude is a currency that we can mind for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy.” – Fred De Witt Van Amburgh
“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” – Epictitus
“Each time your light goes out it is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Albert Schweitzer
“The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.” – William James
“In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“I truly believe we can either see the connections, celebrate them, and express gratitude for our blessings, or we can see life as a string of coincidences that have no meaning or connection. For me, I’m going to believe in miracles, celebrate life, rejoice in the views of eternity, and hope my choices will create a positive ripple effect in the lives of others. This is my choice.” – Mike Ericksen
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” – William Arthur Ward
“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” – Zig Ziglar
“Often people ask how I manage to be happy despite having no arms and no legs. The quick answer is that I have a choice. I can be angry about not having limbs, or I can be thankful that I have a purpose. I choose gratitude.” – Nick Vujicic
“Gratitude and attitude are not challenges; they are choices.” – Robert Braathe
In the spirit of this gratitude post……I’m grateful for you following my blog and listening to my musings surrounding Personal Mastery topics.