What is gratitude, and why does it matter?
Gratitude is the appreciation for the abundance surrounding you. It is a steadfast recognition of the presence of good in your life. As well as an acknowledgment that people and conditions are contributing to it. Gratitude is an innate human emotion, and it can be cultivated in ourselves.
In addition to feeling good, showing gratitude may improve your health.
A growing body of research suggests that expressing thankfulness not only makes you feel better but also improves all other aspects of your life.
There are four main ways.
- Gratitude affects us physically.
- Gratitude affects us socially.
- Gratitude affects us psychologically.
- Gratitude affects our careers.
After years of psychological research, we know that showing gratitude has a direct impact on your health. Saying "thank you" has been proven to reduce stress, improve mental well-being, and strengthen relationships with others.
Gratitude is a huge interest for psychologists, especially concerning health. Thousands of studies get constantly conducted on the topic, and there is strong empirical evidence that people who consistently practice gratitude report increased positive emotions, life satisfaction and overall well-being. It was also found to reduce stress levels by lowering blood pressure, balancing hormones and boosting morale.
Gratitude gets credited for being the best method to boost happiness, so why not take advantage of that.
How exactly does gratitude affect us?
Gratitude helps you sleep better.
Irregular sleeping habits have many adverse effects on our lives. Research has shown that one of the most significant risks of sleeping irregularly, like inconsistent patterns, is developing diabetes and other life-long diseases. When you don't get enough sleep, your energy gets impacted by your low metabolism.
Having low energy can lead to depression, lack of motivation and lethargy.
How much sleep do we need?
- Seven to nine hours of sleep for adults 18-64
- Seven to eight hours of sleep for adults 65 and over
So we would say sleeping better is a massive benefit to your health as it impacts so many areas of our well-being.
A recent study successfully proved that if you are grateful and count your blessings, you have positive thoughts that help you sleep better and for longer periods. The Journal of Psychosomatic Research concluded their findings from the study on 401 participants using several index and scale factors to achieve the results.
Psychologists and therapists have recommended keeping a gratitude journal and write entries at bedtime for which you are grateful. The journal helps you see the positive in your life, so you go to sleep worrying less. Someone who goes to sleep with worry will likely develop dysfunctional sleeping patterns or insomnia.
Gratitude helps reduce depression.
According to the World Health Organization, a whopping 264 million people across the globe endure depressive episodes. If depression is left untreated, it can lead to other illnesses and even suicide.
When we show or receive gratitude, our brain releases dopamine which is ultimately the key to our happiness. Dopamine helps to regulate our frame of mind and promotes happiness while decreasing our pain perception.
Gratitude helps us realize that every day is a new day, and with it comes the opportunity for a better life. Gratitude allows you to focus on what you are blessed with, not what you don't have or lost. This shift in perspective will help reduce depression and sadness in your life.
It is impossible to feel depressed and grateful at the same moment.
Gratitude helps strengthen relationships.
It's no surprise that humans enjoy being around happy people. Practicing good manners can make you not only a more attractive friend but also a better spouse and parent.
When you become an attractive friend, you increase the number of friends you have.
How does showing gratitude and having more friends affect your life?
Research has shown in the past that people who have a robust circle of friends and constant communication are much happier than those who have few friends.
Showing the people we value how appreciated they are, helps foster more meaningful and satisfying relationships because we can determine who is more responsive to our needs.
Expressing gratitude in a marriage is imperative to set realistic standards and ensures you have a long-lasting and happy marriage. Research shows that couples who express their appreciation have stronger marriages.
When you take on the responsibility of marriage, you give up all your freedoms, and everything that was yours before has is now shared with someone who is no longer just a friend.
Gratitude helps you become more patient.
Researchers have proved that people who are grateful for the little things in their life have more patience. When you increase your patience, you can exercise better judgment when making decisions. When you don't have to make snap decisions, you won't be walking around with a big chip on your shoulder.
The main takeaway here is that gratitude benefits your life in every way and is not expensive, so nothing is holding you back from becoming a better person starting today.
You don't have to start with grand gestures or express gratitude to everyone all at once. Start with yourself. Make a list of affirmations to tell yourself every morning that help you appreciate everything in your life.
Gratitude affirmations for daily use:
- I am thankful for all of the love and support I receive from everyone in my life.
- I am thankful for a new day with new opportunities.
- I am thankful for being alive.
- I am thankful for any blessings, for which I might receive today.
Gratitude can help us successfully navigate through life as we find a way to overcome its many adversities. It shouldn't be something you practice when you need good luck or when you need to pass a test; it should be a way of life.
Next time you feel a shift in your moods or are facing an obstacle in life, remember to give thanks for something in your life. It can be an object, a person, or even a situation. Harnessing the power that gratitude will provide you with is simply invaluable and will immediately make you feel a sense of happiness.
Gratitude is the key to unlocking the door to a life of purpose and true happiness, so why not start today?