When everything is going great in your life, it is easy to look around you and feel grateful for your situation and surroundings. When you are given a special gift from someone you care about, you feel an instant sense of gratitude and are thankful for that person.
When you are given a new opportunity such as a new job, you feel grateful and full of self-worth. Those are just a couple of examples, but we all know that special feeling of gratitude toward the world around us.
When disaster hits or we are going through a tough time, it is easy to look around and point out all of the things going wrong in life. The feeling of gratitude you had just a couple of days ago seems to have gone away and you are left wondering what you did to deserve this and feel miserable about your life.
Especially during tough times like these, uncertainty and fear seem to take over our feelings of gratitude and our minds begin to fill with intense emotions like anxiety and sadness.
It is important to realize that the positive and grateful feelings you experience when amazing things occur in your life can be lived during the hardest times as well. Since we all understand what it feels like to be grateful for something or someone, we know that the gratitude is present within, even if it feels out of reach.
It is important to work on various techniques and strategies in order to realize gratitude in all moments of your life. This will drastically improve your mental health and overall satisfaction with life, making you a happier and more pleasant person to be around.
What is Gratitude
Gratitude has many definitions and can appear in everyone’s life in different ways, but it is generally the overall satisfaction and appreciation that you have for your life. Gratitude leaves you in a constant state of joy and thankfulness and is an important emotional response to your surroundings.
Being grateful for the world around you makes you feel as if you are being rewarded and are receiving positive benefits, whether it be tangible or intangible, that bring you pure happiness and peace.
It is important to recognize that gratitude is not only a natural phenomenon that is an emotional response but a choice that you can make each and every day. Every day, you can work on finding more and more moments of gratitude in your routine and daily life and you will notice that over time, you will feel naturally feel more grateful for your life as a whole.
Robert Emmons, a scientific expert on the subject of gratitude and its components, claims that gratitude is an “affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received.”
Once we are able to realize the goodness surrounding our lives and from within, we can truly experience gratitude in all aspects of our lives, even during the most difficult times.
Why Gratitude is Important
Gratitude comes from the Latin root gratia. Gratia means graciousness and grace. Gratitude allows you to connect to a higher power and have deeper connections with those around you and in your environment. When you are more connected to the world, you will appreciate it more making gratitude a positive cycle for your life.
Gratitude is so important because it directly determines the overall wellbeing, satisfaction, and happiness we will experience. No matter how much we have in life, we will never feel happy or satisfied if we are not grateful or appreciative. This is why it is so important to constantly be practicing gratitude when searching for happiness, rather than always trying to have more.
When you are grateful and observant of all of the little things in life, you will be happy through the ups and downs that come with life. Even when you are experiencing the lowest points in your life, gratitude is so important because it allows you to realize that life, in general, is a gift and that there are so many different aspects of life to be grateful for.
Gratitude allows you to deal with adversity, build healthier and stronger relationships, and truly appreciate those around you and most importantly will allow you to experience more positive emotions and experiences. In addition, gratitude can be very beneficial for your overall health.
The mental stability that gratitude provides can be very helpful when challenges arise, and you are forced to deal with adversity. You will also be able to help others and will make them feel good when they are going through tough times with the gratitude that you have developed over time.
Impacts of Gratitude
There are seven main scientifically proven benefits of gratitude on your overall wellbeing. It is an extremely beneficial tool to significantly impact and improve your life that is surprisingly overlooked.
Gratitude does occur naturally but making an effort to find it in different moments of your life each and every day takes practice and dedication. When you understand the different impacts that gratitude has, you will want to take the initiative and change your life for the better.
According to studies published in Psychology Today, grateful people experience less physical pain and are more likely to take care of their physical health. When you become overwhelmed with gratitude for your life and health, you will consistently make an effort to maintain good health.
From making time to go to the doctor’s office regularly for check-ups to taking necessary vitamins and making healthy choices, grateful people take time for self-care in order to improve their physical health. In addition, people who experience gratitude throughout their day are much more productive and motivated to exercise and stay physically active.
Tons of research links cultivating gratitude directly with improved mental health. When you are grateful, your brain’s production of dopamine, the reward and pleasure circuit, is increased significantly. Dopamine is linked with lowered levels of depression, stress, and lack of motivation. It can also make social environments more enjoyable.
Gratitude boosts both dopamine and serotonin levels, so it is no wonder that your mental health improves. Feeling grateful forces, you to look at all of the different positive experiences in your life which reduces the victim mindset and feelings of depression.
When your serotonin levels are increased, you are much less likely to linger in the past and think about negative events. Gratitude allows you to live in the present moment and be grateful for the things in front of you, which also reduces anxiety and stress you may have towards future events.
By replacing the negative flashbacks, depression, and anxiety with positive thoughts and feelings of gratitude for your surroundings, you are able to find the positives in even the toughest of times.
When you have built up this sense of emotional and mental stability, you will be able to take on challenges more frequently without the levels of stress you may have experienced in the past.
A study done in 2012 at the University of Kentucky linked gratitude with lower levels of anger towards others. When the studies were ranked higher on gratitude scales, they were more accepting of negative feedback and more empathetic towards others. They had a decreased desire to seek out arguments and disagreements with others as their aggression levels were reduced significantly.
When you are able to look at all of the good around you and have positive reactions towards your environment, you will feel less angry at the world. You will look at others with a sense of joy even when they are not as kind as you would like them to be because of the gratitude you have for others. Gratitude significantly reduces your anger and hostility towards others by replacing it with empathy and joy.
Gratitude is the key to being more confident and believing in yourself. Gratitude allows you to get out of your head and get rid of the overthinking and negative self-talk you may be experiencing. We all work so hard to fight and control the uncertainty and unpredictable events that could potentially occur in our life that ultimately prevent us from stepping out of our comfort zones and realizing our true capabilities.
These so-called walls you have built up in your mind to protect yourself from potentially negative situations that could occur in your life can have serious impacts on your confidence and self-esteem. You will no longer believe that you are good enough or worth it to take the risks you need to achieve your goals and aspirations.
When you are grateful for your life, you look to others around you with a positive impact and realize that they are not out to get you. This allows you to embrace uncertainty and live your life to its fullest potential.
Gratitude requires you to step away from your ego and be vulnerable to your surroundings, which can feel uncomfortable, especially during challenging times. This allows moments in your life to flow freely and builds your confidence to accept what is occurring. This circle is very positive for your overall well-being and sense of self-esteem.
Being grateful for your life allows you to also let go of your comparison towards others. You will no longer feel the need to try to be someone you are not or desire something that others have, whether tangible or intangible.
When you let go of a sense of jealousy and are grateful for what you have, you will be very content and satisfied with your own life, rather than trying to chase another.
In addition to feeling grateful throughout the day, you will likely have a sense of gratitude that carries with you through the night. Before bed, we are no longer distracted by our surroundings and are forced to sit with our own thoughts.
These thoughts can trigger negative memories or frightening experiences, as well as stress and fear we may have for the future. When you are grateful for what you have, you are naturally more present in the moment and will be able to let go of negative thoughts as you are drifting off to sleep.
When you are at peace with your environment and surroundings by cultivating gratitude, you are able to sleep better and longer. The things that used to keep you up at night and the negative thoughts that would wake you up and stress you out will be replaced with thoughts of gratitude.
Gratitude allows you to recognize all that you have and truly believe that it is enough even during times of extreme difficulty and adversity. When you go through tough events, it is very easy to focus on the negatives around you and everything going wrong. When you can take a step back and find positives during difficult situations, you will react better and will be more mentally strong.
Gratitude builds resilience because it allows you to be both mentally and emotionally stable. You will be able to make better decisions and feel more satisfied when you are grateful for your surroundings. In addition, gratitude allows you to overcome trauma in a much more productive and efficient way. You will no longer be living in the past and you will learn to accept what happened in the past, rather than living in a place of regret. Letting go of the past by cultivating gratitude in the present moment builds up the mental strength necessary for moving forward in life.
When you are more grateful for the actions of others, your relationships will improve significantly. You will feel more appreciative of all the ways they care for and support you and will be more empathetic and understanding of them. They will appreciate you and will recognize that you are more pleasant to be around and joyful. People enjoy being around those who are happy and grateful, so this will make your friendships and other relationships stronger.
Acknowledging others can lead to new opportunities in both your professional and personal life. It can allow you to meet new people and make new friends. You will be more understanding of others when you are appreciative of them and will be less angry during difficult situations.
Changing Your Mindset
When you decide to cultivate gratitude and finally commit to it, you will be on a path to consistent happiness and satisfaction. This requires significant transitions in your mindset and perspective on life as well as who you choose to surround yourself with. The process takes time and dedication but has tons of benefits in your life as a whole. It may not be easy to transition your mind when adversity hits or difficult situations come about but building up the resilience that gratitude brings will lead you to a life of prosperity and wellbeing.
Shifting from Negativity to Gratitude
Many people have a victim and a negative mindset. They constantly look for the flaws in others and point out any mistake they may make. They search for disagreements and pick battles freely, leaving them empty and emotionally drained. Negative people turn to gossip about others in order to spark conversation, and never feel satisfied with their relationships or surroundings.
Rather than pointing out all of the flaws in your own life or looking at the mistakes of others, cultivating gratitude requires a total shift and transformation in your mindset. You shift your energy towards positive energy and only look to people who support you and lift you up. Gratitude requires an optimistic mindset and positive reactions to the world around you. Rather than looking to the past, you are able to be grateful for the moment you are living in which cultivates inner peace and joy.
The new attitude and outlook you will have on life by shifting from a negative mindset to gratitude and positivity may change the relationships you have with others. You will observe those who are gossiping in your life and realize that they are toxic for your mental and emotional wellbeing.
This may require you to distance yourself which can be very painful and feel like a loss. However, it is important to understand that you must act based on what will lift you up and improve your life the most by looking at what makes you feel most grateful.
Shifting from Past and Future to Present
Living in the present moment and accepting what is occurring in your life right now is a mindset that takes lots of energy and effort but will provide everlasting benefits. When you are living in the past, you feel a sense of regret and wish that things were different.
This causes depression and resentfulness that is very negative for your emotions. In addition, looking far ahead into the future and trying to control uncertain outcomes is emotionally draining and causes both fear and anxiety.
It is important to recognize these behaviors and habits that leave you missing out on the present moment. The anxiety and depression that comes from not living in the moment take happiness away from you and puts you in a negative emotional loop.
Through meditation and other techniques, you can train the mind to move to a state of presence and appreciation for the life you are living. This will also allow your life to flow freely, rather than feeling like you have to control things that are unpredictable and uncertain.
Living in the present allows you to accept the fact that you cannot change the past or predict the future. Knowing that these things are out of your control and adversity can occur whether you think about it or not brings you a deep state of inner peace and makes room in the mind for grateful thoughts.
You will be able to find gratitude in the toughest of times because you are not scared of what the future may bring, and you are no longer trying to change what happened in your past.
Tips for Improving Sense of Gratitude
There are many techniques and strategies that you can develop as habits to improve your mind and shift towards a grateful mindset. These strategies take dedication and commitment but will provide tons of benefits in every aspect of your daily life. Personal gratitude practice is extremely powerful and will allow you to achieve your goals and aspirations.
Committing to a sense of gratitude will lead to health and emotional as well as mental wellbeing in your personal and professional life. Gratitude changes your outlook on life and your satisfaction with your surroundings and ultimately leads to inner peace. Below are a few ways to cultivate gratitude and incorporate it into your daily routine.
Meditation and finding inner peace teach you to control your mind and is the best way to transform your mindset. It allows you to be intentional in cultivating gratitude and allows you to learn how to live in the present while letting go of regrets from the past and expectations for the future.
By exploring the roots of your subconscious mind and searching for things that may be bothering or triggering to you, you will learn how to reform your thoughts as well as your outlook on life. It allows you to have clearer thinking and let go of anxiety, depression, and other negative mental health issues that are getting in the way of grateful feelings.
When you are calmer and more positive about your surroundings, you will obtain the inner peace you need to let go of reacting to all of the negative things that occur in your life and build up resilience to get through tough times. In doing so, you are present and will observe all of the little things that you appreciate, even during times of adversity.
Meditation allows you to analyze all different aspects of your life and determine things that may be causing you the most stress, anxiety, depression, and overall adversity. You will find that many of these things are a result of your surroundings and are out of your control. This will allow you to cultivate peace from within and make time for finding gratitude, rather than pointing out the different flaws in your life. When you take time to observe these things, you will notice that many of them are avoidable and you will become more solution-oriented, even during the toughest of times.
Start by meditating for ten minutes each day, and gradually increase the time by setting goals for yourself. You can even choose to utilize a guided meditation that allows you to contemplate the things that bring you gratitude. When you recognize things that make you grateful for life, you will feel the meditation and presence carry on throughout the rest of the day while letting go of things that may be stressing you out.
Starting a gratitude journal is the best way to incorporate gratitude into your daily routine and keep yourself accountable during tough times. A gratitude journal is a tool that allows you to keep track of all of the things you appreciate while gradually shifting your mindset to a more positive one.
When you are focused on writing down all of the good, you will eventually train the mind to search for it on its own through many different moments throughout the day. You will find yourself noticing the little things such as your first sip of coffee or the nature around you and will recognize them in order to lift your mood.
When writing in a journal, you will identify new perspectives and ways to improve your gratitude and the way you interact with others. You will become more self-aware and adjust your attitude into a more positive and happier one.
You will learn what really matters for your happiness and will learn more about what you can do without. You will feel more balanced and emotionally stable when adversity comes about because you will have totally shifted your mindset.
Each morning when you first wake up, write down five things that make you feel grateful for your life. Each day, you can also do different journaling prompts allowing you to focus and identify many other roots of gratitude in various aspects of your life. For example, you could spend one day writing about a single person who makes you feel intense gratitude or different skills you have that you feel grateful for.
You can also analyze ways that your life has improved from a year ago until now and different things you may be taking for granted. There are hundreds of prompts you can find online and take up on your own to write each morning. This will cultivate a grateful mindset throughout the rest of your day.
A gratitude visit is a common strategy to take up when you are going through tough and uncertain times. It requires thinking of someone who did something extremely kind for you that you did not appreciate at the moment. Whether you were preoccupied or stressed about another aspect of your life, we all have gone through an event that we looked back on and wished we had been more appreciative of.
Take this event and analyze it from every angle by writing down what happened, the impacts it had on your life, and why you are grateful for it. You can write it in a handmade card and send it to the person or say it to them face-to-face.
This will train the mind to recognize kindness from others and be more grateful in the moment. It is important to start and end each day with a sense of gratitude for what you have and for your surroundings and relationships in order to feel immense satisfaction and happiness for your life.