It seems like a simple question, but is it something you really think about daily?
For me the answer would have been no. Yes, I’m grateful, but I really only thought about it on a special occasion, or maybe when I was able to sleep an extra couple of hours on the weekend (I cherish my sleep).
For a very long time I’ve taken medication for depression and anxiety. Lately I’ve been researching various natural remedies and practices that could change my attitude, beliefs, habits, and general wellness. I started to read articles and watch videos in my search for change and gratitude kept presenting itself. I had no idea that there is scientific proof that gratitude can actually change your brain! I also discovered that the way I was thinking was directly effecting my body and my experiences. I had become “comfortable in my own misery” (I love that phrase) thinking that nothing would change…so nothing changed. Yes, thoughts can be toxic and debilitating!
In the last few years I’ve incorporated quite a few wellness practices into my daily routine. It hasn’t been easy, but I can definitely feel the difference, and others have made comments that validate the changes I’ve been feeling in myself. It didn’t happen right away, but it did happen. Gratitude is just one of the practices that I’ve added to my day.
Exchange your self-pity and bad attitude for gratitude. Start a gratitude journal. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. I started by writing 5 things each day that I’m grateful for, even on my worst days. Sometimes it’s as simple is “I’m grateful for my heart that beats every second of everyday”. Everyone has something to be grateful for and this practice has made a significant difference in my life.
|See the handmade journals in my Etsy Shop!|
Reasons you should practice Gratitude
- Gratitude improves physical health. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and report feeling healthier than other people, according to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences. Not surprisingly, grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health. They exercise more often and are more likely to attend regular check-ups, which is likely to contribute to further longevity.
- Gratitude improves psychological health. Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Robert Emmons, a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.
- Grateful people sleep better. Writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep, according to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. Spend just 15 minutes jotting down a few grateful sentiments before bed, and you may sleep better and longer.
- Gratitude improves self-esteem. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that gratitude increased athletes’ self-esteem, an essential component to optimal performance. Other studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons. Rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs—a major factor in reduced self-esteem—grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments.
- Gratitude increases mental strength. For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma. A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of post-traumatic stress disorder. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on September 11. Recognizing all that you have to be thankful for —even during the worst times—fosters resilience.