Do you start each day with consistent gratitude? Connecting with others…choosing to be positive, seeing the best in every situation… finding joy in the little things, and smiling at strangers?
Consistent gratitude is the expression of appreciation for what you have. It’s an emotion, one that makes you feel happier. Psychologists find that, over time, feeling grateful boost’s your happiness and fosters physical and psychological health, even among those who struggle with mental health problems. In addition, having a thankful heart curbs negative emotions and shifts your inner attention away from negative emotions such as resentment or anger.
In recent years, positive psychology research has proven that gratitude is strongly associated with the emotions that can help you enjoy more significant health and happiness. It has also been shown that gratitude plays an essential role in nurturing relationships and can even inspire you to take better care of yourself. Here’s how developing an attitude of gratitude can improve your mental health and make you happier in your life.
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
If You Are More Grateful, You Will See the World As More Positive
When you incorporate gratitude into your daily life, you will have a more positive outlook and be more appreciative of everyday things. Studies have shown that people who are more grateful than others will automatically think about what happens to them more positively. Most situations that occur in our lives are not 100% good or 100% bad. Consequently, how we think about or interpret what happens to us plays a significant role in our feelings about the situation.
Most people have learned “thinking habits” that they repeat over and over again. With gratitude, your moods won’t be affected by disappointment, and you’ll be better able to see the bright side of life rather than focusing on what you lack. As a result, you will be less likely to take things for granted and will be more inclined to be moved by the little things.
Consistent Gratitude for Greater Life Satisfaction
Happiness and satisfaction are two very different things. You can be happy at the moment and still feel dissatisfied with your life. Happiness can be fleeting. For instance, that first cup of coffee at 6:30 am can make us happy. An hour later, the happiness from the coffee has worn off. Satisfaction, however, is long-lasting.
Those who practice daily gratitude tend to be less materialistic and more hopeful in life. They are also more likely to have greater resilience and less likely to feel like they’re victims when things don’t go their way. Being able to cope better with tragedies and crises can help to improve the quality and experiences you have in life.
Gratitude Helps You Stay Healthy
Research has proven that you are less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression when you live with gratitude. All of this might explain why grateful people are happier, but why are they also healthier, why they sleep better, and why are they sick less often?
The cognitive pathway can also explain this. Such as if you have fewer negative thoughts about the world, it is easier to fall asleep because you are not lying awake worrying about everything that went wrong that day. You might have also noticed that when you worry a lot, you can experience negative feelings in your body, such as headaches or stomach pains. In addition, not getting enough sleep and having a lot of negative emotions (feeling worried, stressed, sad, and angry) is bad for your immune system, which makes it difficult for your body to fight off diseases.
With daily gratitude, people tend to be more optimistic and enjoy an increase in energy. Consistent gratitude also has a positive effect on cardiovascular health and immune health. In addition, it has been shown to effectively lower blood pressure, increase pain tolerance, and positively impact pregnancy.
The truth is – everyone has countless reasons to be thankful. But sometimes, it doesn’t feel that way. Maybe you’re having a bad day, a bad week, heck, even a bad year. But regardless of any of that, there is always something to be grateful about.
My best days tend to happen when I start the morning with just 2-5 minutes (that’s all it takes!) of writing in my Gratitude Journal. And that’s not a coincidence. Gratitude frames your mind for a joyous, productive, and I-can-take-on-the-world-just-watch-me day.
Those who experience heartfelt gratitude in their lives have higher levels of happiness and far greater self-esteem and confidence. Being grateful focuses your attention on happier, more positive thoughts that can help you feel better about yourself and help you to banish negative self-talk.
“There’s always, always, always something to be grateful for.”
Higher Levels of Success
David Steindl-Rast, in his Ted-Talk on happiness, proposes a question: ‘Does happiness cause one to be grateful or does being grateful create happiness?’ He concludes his talk by explaining that consistent gratitude is the sole creator of happiness. We all know people who have faced devastating adversity and challenges but have persevered with gratitude and joy. They are the perfect example of creating happiness through the practice of gratitude.
Those with a grateful disposition are more likely to achieve their goals faster. In addition, those who hold managerial positions report that showing genuine appreciation and thanking their colleagues improve productivity and motivation. Being grateful isn’t always easy, but life can be incredibly lonely, depressing, and impoverished without it. Conversely, showing gratitude can enrich your life and energize, elevate, inspire and transform your life.
“When you are grateful, fear disappears, and abundance appears.” — Tony Robbins
I am Shirley Noah, author and an internationally known stress expert and entrepreneur. I would love to connect further with you to help you improve your health and well-being if you are interested in learning more about being positive and how what you say to yourself influences your behavior. Please take a look at my popular E-course, Optimize Your Self Talk.