14 Jan Five Benefits of Gratitude
Do you want to feel happier and less stressed? Wish you were more productive or a better decision maker? Want more energy? Maybe you desire more friendships or deeper relationships with the friendships you have? Could you benefit from increased self-esteem, better sleep and a more optimistic outlook?
By simply incorporating gratitude into your daily life it is possible to achieve all of this and more.
It’s so easy to fall into the habit of complaining about our day, remembering and reliving irritations and disappointments. It’s easy to be consumed by negative thoughts and feelings, from fearing what the future might hold to regretting the past. Worrying thoughts and reliving annoyances can be all-consuming. Focusing on fearful thoughts provokes more fear. Focusing on what we’re worried about provokes more worry. Reliving what annoys provokes anger. Whilst being consumed with all these negative feelings, we forget about all the good moments and feelings of happiness. By continuing to dwell in the worry and anger, it self perpetuates, resulting in increased anxiety, sadness, pessimism and a lack of motivation to help us get through daily life.
One of the easiest ways to break the cycle of worry and fear, replacing it with feelings of happiness, contentment and positivity is to incorporate gratitude to your daily life. Rather than focusing on what went wrong, recall what went right. Rather than ruminating on the one conversation that didn’t go well, revisit the laughter shared with a friend. Instead of complaining that it is raining, be grateful for the roof and boiling kettle to make a cup of tea. Retraining your brain in this way has the ability to bring a multitude of positive results, some might even surprise you. Here are five reasons to add more gratitude into your daily life.
1. Your Health
Focusing on what you have gratitude for can have some remarkable health benefits. When you feel stressed and begin the cycle of complaining and focusing on what is going wrong in your life, the body goes into its stress response. Natural response includes releasing adrenaline and cortisol, to prepare for fight or flee. Long-term or frequent adrenaline releases can affect sleep patterns, weaken the immune system, create digestive issues, and can cause of cardiovascular problems and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and diabetes. By focusing on what you are grateful for, the body’s stress response relaxes and turns off. Instead happy chemicals, such as oxytocin are released and help to heal and repair the body. By changing your focus from stress to gratitude you will naturally increase your quality of sleep, strengthen your immune system, and increase your energy. With increased energy you will be able to exercise more effectively with more stamina, releasing more endorphins; the body’s natural ‘happiness’ chemical, which works to help create feelings of wellbeing.
2. Your Emotions
If our thoughts create our emotions and our emotions loop back to our thoughts, it is in our best interest to help our brains get onto the right thought track. If you have grateful thoughts you are going to feel happier emotions, sending the brain back in search of another reason to feel happiness. As you bring the practice of gratitude into your life, your emotional wellbeing naturally starts to improve as the body’s stress begins to decrease. As your stress response gets more ‘off time’ feelings of relaxation and ease in your own skin increase. When life becomes less threatening, your ability to connect to your environment with more curiosity and joy expands.
3. Your personality
Characteristics that make up your personality begin to shift towards a more positive disposition with increased gratitude practices. You might even find that your confidence and self esteem increase and expand, as your inner critic begins to quiet down. Optimism replaces pessimism, opening you up to engaging in new opportunities and experiences. Life itself can open up as you begin to take your attention off yourself by acknowledging what is around you.
4. Social interactions
All relationships, whether it’s a spouse, a parent, friend or colleague, can improve and deepen significantly as you start to notice and focus on what attributes of theirs you are grateful for, rather than critical of. You may also find new friendships and connections seem more available to you as your disposition becomes friendlier, more trusting, optimistic and generally more pleasant to be around.
5. Work life
Becoming less stressed automatically changes how you organise and manage yourself and your time. This can have a remarkable effect on your career as you become more engaged and productive. With an increased sense of confidence, your ability to goal set and achieve will naturally begin to expand, as you begin to understand and acknowledge you have the internal resources and capacity to achieve and progress..
These five areas of your life are all interlinked and intertwined, so will all directly benefit from the incorporation of a daily practice of gratitude. With all this to gain what do you have to lose by giving it a go? There are so many different ways to bring gratitude into your daily routine. I have created a guide for you try and discover what practice works best for you. Download my guide on how to incorporate gratitude into your daily life to get started.