We all want to be happier.
It’s the reason we set big goals and work long hours. That light at the end of the tunnel that we’re working towards? It’s the happier version of ourselves that we want to embody. The good news, though, is that you don’t have to wait until all your goals are met and you are living your dream life to start feeling happier — you can start today. Right now, even.
What is gratitude/gratefulness?
When we want to know how to practice gratitude, we can begin by understanding what gratefulness is. Being grateful is a sense of appreciating how much we have—when we are not taking our blessings for granted.
The benefits of a gratitude practice:
Some of the amazing benefits commonly experienced by practicing gratitude are:
- A stronger immune system
- Lowered blood pressure
- Better, more refreshing sleep
- Feeling less alone and isolated
- Feeling more helpful, outgoing, and generous
- Higher levels of positive emotions (and lower levels of stress and depression)
- Feeling more joy and pleasure
Understanding more about practicing Gratitude:
Showing gratitude is not merely saying, “thank you.
Many researchers like Emmons & Mishra (2011) and Wong and Brown (2017) have done studies on this topic. They analyzed their findings to figure out how gratitude has these effects.
They determined that gratitude does four things:
- Gratitude disconnects us from toxic, negative emotions and the ruminating that often accompanies them. Writing a letter “shifts our attention” so that our focus is on positive emotions.
- Expressing gratitude helps us even if we don’t explicitly share it with someone. We’re happier and more satisfied with life because we completed the exercise.
- The positive effects of gratitude writing compound like interest. You might not notice the benefit of a daily or weekly practice, but after several weeks and months, you will.
- A gratitude practice trains the brain to be more in tune with experiencing gratitude — a positive plus a positive, equals more positives.
Let’s be thankful!
Once you become oriented toward looking for things to be grateful for, you will find that you begin to appreciate simple pleasures and things that you previously took for granted. Gratitude should not be just a reaction to getting what you want, but an all-the-time gratitude, the kind where you notice the little things and where you constantly look for the good even in unpleasant situations.
Today, start bringing gratitude to your experiences, instead of waiting for a positive experience in order to feel grateful; in this way, you’ll be on your way toward becoming a master of gratitude.