Practicng gratitude is strongly related to well-being and is increasingly popular in positive psychology. Health is not just about what you’re eating, it’s also about what you are thinking and saying. Gratitude is an invisible shield from high levels of stress and anxiety.
Gratitude is from the Latin word gratus, meaning ‘pleasing, thankful’. It is a feeling of appreciation felt by and/or similar positive response shown by the recipients of kindness, gifts, help, favors, or other types of generosity, towards the giver of such gifts. Sources: Oxford Dictionary and Cambridge Dictionary
Health Benefits from Practicing Gratitude
Stress is taxing by draining your physical and mental health. This is where gratitude plays an important role as it gives you an opportunity to reflect on what you appreciate in life. It helps you focus on the good things rather than the negatives.
Gratitude uniquely predicts lower depression in chronic illness populations: A longitudinal study of inflammatory bowel disease and arthritis.
Dr Fuschia Sirois, a psychologist at the University of Sheffield who is running the project, explains that a scientific consensus has developed in the past 10 years that undermines her instinctive cynicism. For Sirois and other researchers in this field, gratitude is far more than a trend– it is a way of well-being, a protective cloak that could help shield those who feel it from poor mental health.
Practicing gratitude means paying attention to what you are thankful for to the degree of feeling more kind and compassionate toward the world at large. The positive energy creates a ripple effect within your life.
Boost Immune System *
Since practicing gratitude is a ‘positive affect skill’, it keeps immune systems healthy.
“Clinical trials indicate that practice of gratitude can have dramatic and lasting effects in a person’s life,” said Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at UC Davis. “It can lower blood pressure, improve immune function and facilitate more efficient sleep.”
Researchers at the universities of Utah and Kentucky observed the stressed-out law students who characterized themselves as optimistic actually had more disease-fighting cells in their bodies. **
Robert A. Emmons said there’s more evidence. People who keep a gratitude journal have a reduced dietary fat intake – as much as 25% lower. Stress hormones like cortisol are 23%lower in grateful people. And having a daily gratitude practice could actually lower the effects of aging to the brain.
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How to Practice Gratitude
Keep a Gratitude Journal
Set aside some time on a daily basis and reflect and think of three to five or more things to feel grateful for. Visualize it in your mind and feel the gratitude in your mind and body. Doing this every day will rewire our brain to be naturally more grateful, and you’ll start feeling happier after every session.
Most Importantly Find Gratitude in Adversity
Despite what you are going through or have experienced in the past, always find a silver lining. When you are able to find gratitude in your adversities, you can make peace and be able to move forward stronger and healthier.
A saint was asked, “What is anger?” The saint answered, “It is a punishment we give to ourself, for someone else’s mistake.” – Unknown
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Express Your Gratitude
Expressing gratitude to the people in your life by calling them, writing a letter, email or a messaging app, makes you feel happier. When you take the time to think about the people who made or are currently making a positive impact, small or big, you are spending more time thinking positive thoughts.
A study by Soul Pancakes performed an experiment on the correlation between expressing gratitude and happiness levels, and here are the results:
For those who took the time to actually write something down but couldn’t make the phone call, happiness increase from 2 to 4%. Good but not exactly mind blowing.
Now for those who actually made the phone call and personally expressed their gratitude, happiness increased from 4 to 19%.
Gratitude makes us feel happier, reduces stress levels, heals our souls, improves quality of sleep and enhances the law of attraction.
What are you grateful for today?
*Source: Today News
**Source: Today News