Being grateful has, for hundreds if not thousands of years, been one of those things that people have always done in some way. Whether it was praying to the Gods for abundant crops and giving thanks when the rains arrived, or saying Grace before sitting down to a meal. People have always inherently given thanks for what they had because they knew just how easily it could be taken away.
In the past 100 years or so, this has drastically shifted. Religion is no longer the glue that holds many societies together. In the modern age all of life's necessities can be bought on a store shelf or ordered directly over the internet. So why give thanks for what you've got? It's just taken for granted that it will be there. We've lost sight of how this gratitude, and the act of consciously giving thanks, can enhance our lives. Here are 5 ways that being grateful can make you happier!
1. Increase optimism.
By giving thanks and focusing on all of the beautiful things you do have, instead of what you don't, being grateful inherently forces you to look on the bright side. Whether it's having hot food on the table or your favourite pair of shoes, expressing gratitude for them automatically makes you aware that not everyone has the same things. There are many that do without. You cannot inherently be resentful or jealous of someone else and grateful at the same time. Those emotions are not compatible. So by focusing on gratitude, you automatically focus on all that is good in your life.
2. Enjoy improved physical health.
People who have a regular gratitude practice, even a simple one like a daily journal, have been shown to be healthier! Studies have shown results such as stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, better sleep habits, being less bothered by minor aches, and having a higher chance of taking care of their health and exercising.
3. Deal with adverse circumstances better.
There’s many studies showing that when faced with serious trauma or adversity, those with a grateful outlook often recover more quickly. One theory is that gratitude makes people look on the bright side and helps guard them from trauma or anxiety that can manifest after a challenging time.
4. Cultivate stronger relationships.
Research has shown that when two people actively express gratitude toward each other on a regular basis, they are both happier and feel more free to discuss challenging issues as a result. Opening up pathways of communication means that relationships of all types are inherently more fulfilling and stronger.
5. Enjoy life's experiences more fully.
Having a lot of gratitude in your life can enhance feelings of compassion, forgiveness and generosity. It can also reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. In this day in age where many people are feeling ever more isolated due to the virtual world being the dominant way people socialize, expressing gratitude can be part of the answer. Being grateful for life's simple things brings forth many positive emotions and can make life more enjoyable and pleasurable!
So how do become more grateful? Start small and keep it simple. This is something to enhance your life, not complicate it! A few simple tips include:
- Start a gratitude journal! Each day, pick 2-3 things you are grateful for and write them down. It's best if this becomes a ritual. So set a timer and each morning or evening, create a ritual of recording your gratitude.
- Each day count your blessings! Whether it's just in your head or discussing them with a friend, a spouse, or your kids, make a point of each day talking about what you're each grateful for.
- Think outside the box. What seemingly negative experiences in your life have you learned from? In hindsight are you perhaps grateful for losing a job? The end of a relationship? Making a tough move? If we can look at those hard times and see the good that came from them, it can transform the way we see the rest of the world.
A bonus tip for anyone working on creating a better relationship with their body is to find one thing about your body that you're grateful for each and every day. Whether it's your heart beating, your eyesight, or the colour of your hair, focusing on one positive trait each day can be a big help in transforming each day and after a little while you'll be able to look back and reflect on all of the things you love about your body!
For more tips on learning to love your body, check out the FREE video & Ebook on my Three Secrets to Loving your body Today!!!
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I hope this has been a help to you! I'm always keen to see what gratitude practices people have in place or what they plan on incorporating, so drop me a line here and let me know what expressing gratitude looks like to you!