Plus 4 Tips On How To Practice Gratitude
Gratitude is a feeling of appreciation or thanks to which there are many benefits. How many times have you been told to be more grateful? Or maybe you wished you could be more grateful yourself but didn’t know how? Or do you find it difficult to see the positive in everyday, the little things that you don’t pay attention to?
Many studies have been conducted exhibiting the multitude of positive benefits of gratitude. But, it can be especially difficult to think of things we are grateful for because of our negativity bias. This means that humans give more importance to negative emotions and experiences than positive ones.
You can reverse this negativity bias simply by practicing paying attention to the positive experiences in your life, and then they will grow as a result of your perspective.
Check out the list below in case you needed a reason to express more gratitude today.
I have also included some tips on how to practice gratitude following the list.
10 Benefits Of Gratitude
Enhancing feelings of gratitude can reduce depression. This is because depression thrives on negative overthinking, which negatively impacts your mood and puts you into a downward spiral.
Gratitude, on the other hand, helps you create more positive, optimistic thoughts. This will then improve your mood because you are opening your mind to possibility, instead of closing it off to doubt, fear, and hopelessness.
Gratitude strengthens resiliency. Resiliency is “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.” Resiliency depends upon optimism and hope for the future, which is strengthened when you practice focusing on what you are grateful for and the positive things that already exist in your life.
People have less chronic pain when they are more grateful. Pain is certainly physical, but the thoughts we have about pain are purely psychological. These thoughts can make the experience of pain either worse or better.
When you are practicing focusing on the positive things in your life, it becomes more difficult to think about negative aspects or suffering. The resistance to pain makes the experience of pain even more difficult. Gratitude helps you practice the exact opposite.
Gratitude helps to increase self-esteem. Your self-esteem can become pretty low if you are constantly focusing on your shortcomings, weaknesses, and downfalls.
On the other hand, if you are able to practice focusing on the positive aspects of your life, including your strengths and unique abilities and/or characteristics, this will help to improve your self-esteem and confidence.
People are more likely to help others when they practice gratitude. Gratitude also helps to improve your relationships and how much people like you.
This is because you are thinking about the best in others when you practice gratitude. You are sending others thoughts of appreciation and loving kindness, which in turn will help you view others in a more positive light, instead of critically. When you assume the best in others, this is also reflected back onto you, and others will like you more as a result- because of your confidence in them.
Gratitude improves sleep. The number one reason why my clients have difficulty sleeping is because of worry, negative thoughts, and stress. When you are practicing gratitude this overshadows all of the worries you have in your life.
It is easier to sleep well when you are satisfied.
You are training your brain to retain positive experiences. This is a no-brainer (pun intended). Our brains are plastic- which means that they are able to adapt to and learn from experience. Therefore, if you train your brain to start focusing on the positive, it will start to become more of a pattern and it will be easier to retain positive experiences.
Gratitude helps increase your energy levels. Have you ever noticed that people who are depressed can be very sluggish and lack energy? While on the other hand, people who are in a good mood can often have a lot of energy and motivation?
These increased energy levels can also occur as a result of increasing your gratitude because it helps you to improve your mood and outlook on life.
Gratitude reduces feelings of jealousy. Jealousy often comes from feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem. Practicing gratitude counteracts these negative perceptions about yourself with positive thoughts and sentiments. As a result, your confidence will increase and the tendency towards jealousy will decrease because you will feel happier and more satisfied with who you are.
Gratitude improves your physical health. A huge source of negative physical health comes from inflammation. Stress is a huge source of inflammation within the body.
On the other hand, gratitude (which can decrease stress levels) can also help to decrease inflammation and increase your motivation to take care of yourself physically. This can then result in improved physical health.
How Can You Start Reaping The Benefits Of Gratitude?
Here are a few simple tips to get you started on the path to practicing more gratitude in your life. Practice one or more of these tips regularly so that you can reap the benefits of a gratitude practice.
Savor Positive Experiences:
See the glass as being half-full verses half-empty. There are usually at least two perspectives to take on every situation. Choosing to see the positive will help you practice starting to see things differently and make it easier to have optimistic thoughts in the future.
Tell People Something You Appreciate About Them:
Expressing gratitude towards others, especially the people that you care about (often we say “thank you” to the people that are closest to us the least) can be very important. Not only does it result in the recipient of the gratitude feeling better and acting nicer towards you, but it will help you feel better to pass on positive vibes and appreciation to those around you.
Volunteer And Help Others:
Gratitude does not always have to be about the words you express, but it can also be expressed in your actions. Volunteer to help an elderly neighbor bring their groceries inside, hold the door open for the person behind you, volunteer at a local food pantry… The possibilities are endless, and it is your way of passing your gratitude forward to others.
Start A Gratitude Journal:
Keeping a gratitude journal can be a very positive habit to help you practice gratitude regularly. Making a habit of writing down a few things you are grateful for daily can help you focus on the positive in your life, and make it easier to notice the things you have to be grateful for moving forward.
A study had people writing down 3 things they were grateful for daily. After 1 month people were 5% happier and after 6 months people were 9% happier.
I hope you found these tips helpful. I utilize positive psychology techniques including gratitude in my private therapy sessions to help people feel happier and calmer from within. Click here to schedule an appointment now!