The most magical adventures can be the most challenging to make tangible. Such is the scientific studies on gratitude and its ability to bring its user increased happiness and decreased depression.
While most people have an instinctive understanding of what gratitude is, it can be very difficult to define. It’s that time of year where everyone seems to begin to focus more on what they are grateful for, and 2020 has shown us simply how necessary it is to find gratitude for one’s own physical health.
It has been said that regular shifts toward gratitude have the ability to heal, balance, and regulate negativity from a person’s life. Since life nowadays may feel without control and filled with concern, creating moments of thanks are essential to put it all in perspective.
Many studies over the past two decades have concluded that people who practice gratitude tend to be happier and less depressed. In fact, research supports the claim that gratitude is ‘the greatest virtue’ and furthermore ‘the mother of all other remaining virtues.’
Gratitude works to help improve all aspects of health.
- It enhances empathy and reduces aggression by shifting perspective and freeing the user of overwhelming thoughts of judgement, resentment, and regret.
- Not only do grateful people sleep better, they also report less physical aches and pains and tend to be overall healthier than other people. (according to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences)
- Two studies conducted in 2003 and 2006 proved that gratitude helped to increase mental strength, specifically citing survivors of 9/11 and Vietnam Veterans combating PTSD.
- A 2014 study revealed that grateful people have increased levels of self-esteem.
(Access incredible research and learn more about the studies cited HERE)
As a practice, gratitude doesn’t require much. However, if you feel like you could use some inspiration to cultivate more gratitude in your life, here are some quick tips to make it a daily and regular feel-good routine:
- Find a reason to give ‘thanks’ first thing in the morning. Often adults wake up and rattle off their to-do list, scroll through their phone, or click the Television to watch the news. Prior to connecting, planning, and worrying for the day, deliberately begin your day with ‘thanks.’ Perhaps you find gratitude for the home that kept you safe and secure all night long. Maybe you are thankful for the warm slippers you are about to place upon your feet. Or maybe you find a moment of thanks for your eyes opening wide, the breath that fills your lungs, and your ability to begin a day again.
- Ditch the judgement. Gratitude isn’t a competition. While you may feel deeply connected to feelings of thankfulness for your children, friendships and family…finding gratitude for the smaller things in life are just as important. So, if you are feeling thankful for your computer or the phone that allows you to still connect with those you care about, express it! Maybe it’s your favorite meal or the pair of jeans or purse that you worked so hard to finally purchase. Material, non-material, physical and non-physical…when it comes to feeling thankful for something in your life, everything is up for grabs!
- Make it a habit. Regular gratitude can shift your mentality in a major way. And the more you willingly focus upon gratitude, the more things you will find in your life to be grateful for.
Here are three simple ways to incorporate gratitude into your life, while still feeling true to yourself…
- Focus on three things you are grateful for while washing the dishes or taking a shower
- Practice to feel love, health, and happiness, while cooking your food or food for others
- Remind yourself regularly that these are the best moments of your life. Screaming kids? Chatty co-workers? Every interaction is an opportunity to find thanks. Yes, even in the most chaotic ones!
When it comes to gratitude, the fun is in the freedom! Don’t overcomplicate it. While gratitude can be beautifully expressed through actions like writing in a journal, or through hymns and prayers, practicing gratitude is really as simple as sitting with one conscious grateful thought at a time.
Tapping in to your personal feelings of joy, contentment, and regularly finding reasons to rejoice in your life will turn the key towards happiness.
One mindful thought about what is going good in your life can be all you need to transform your mood, realign yourself with the positives, and help you to shift perspective toward all the greatness in your life.
Ready to learn how to tap into the power of your personal gratitude? Visit Inner Clarity today to book an appointment with a Therapist who will help you sift through the moments of your truth so you can lean into focusing on what feels good. Find out more about how we can help!