Updated: Sep 18, 2018
Gratitude is defined as a feeling of thankfulness or appreciation for what we have in life. Numerous research studies have indicated that being in a state of gratefulness has many benefits to one’s overall well-being, including increased happiness, personal and marital satisfaction, and improved physical health and mental health. With so many cited benefits of being in a state of gratefulness, the question that arises is why isn’t everyone practicing gratitude? With our busy day to day lives, we may think we ‘don’t have time’ to reflect on all the things we have to be thankful for, or we may think that it is pointless. But like any healthy habit, achieving a state of gratefulness takes time, consistency, and a conscious effort.
Being mindful of the countless blessings we have, including our health, family, friends, home, life experiences and even just being alive, allows us to manifest more positive emotions in our life. Often times, we take many of these things for granted and do not fully appreciate them until we feel their absence. But spending just a few minutes every day being mindful and appreciating all that you have can have a long lasting effect on one’s happiness and generate more positivity in one’s life. This is because when you make gratitude a daily priority in your life, you will go through your day mindful of even the little things you would not stop twice to think about before.
Too often we find ourselves trapped in our negative thinking patterns, hindering our ability to see the beautiful aspects of our life. However when we practice gratitude, we are choosing to acknowledge and appreciate the infinite blessings surrounding us rather than putting all of our focus and energy into the things we do not have or do not like. During difficult and trying times, we can utilize gratefulness as a tool to help us overcome adversities with a positive mindset.
Here are some ways to start practicing gratitude:
1) In the morning, write 5 things that you are grateful for and why you are grateful for them.
2) Before you sleep, think of all the great things that happened to you during the day.
3) Thank a significant person in your life (e.g., family member, friend) for something about them that you are grateful for.
4) Write 5 things about yourself that you are grateful for.
Practicing gratitude on a daily basis is a powerful tool that not only helps us to appreciate more of the little things in life that we often take for granted, but also helps us cope during difficult times. The more we cultivate gratitude from within, the more fulfilled and happier we will feel in all aspects of our life.
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Hill, P. L., Allemand, M., & Roberts, B. W. (2013). Examining the pathways between gratitude and self-rated physical health across adulthood. Personality and Individual Differences, 54(1), 92-96. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2012.08.011
Rash, J. A., Matsuba, M. K. and Prkachin, K. M. (2011), Gratitude and Well-Being: Who Benefits the Most from a Gratitude Intervention? Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 3: 350–369. doi: 10.1111/j.1758-0854.2011.01058.x