Why You Should Practice GratitudeNov 30, 2021
When was the last time you had a genuinely thankful thought? It must have been a long time ago. You might think that this doesn't matter, but there are many benefits to practicing gratitude. In this blog post, we will explore how practicing gratitude can affect your physical and mental health in positive ways.
Practicing gratitude is good for you.
While going through everyday life, it's easy for us to take what we have and receive from others for granted. These things can be in the form of material possessions or help received from other people. But, unfortunately, when problems and unfortunate events happen in our lives, we tend to focus on what we lack. Also, if you keep on looking at other people's lives, you can succumb to envy and think how unlucky you are for not having what others have.
Sometimes, some of our problems are self-manufactured because of this "lack" feeling. For example, you feel that your life is not complete because you don't have something or you didn't do something. However, it wouldn't hurt to take a moment and count the blessings you have. When you realize that there are many things in your life you can feel thankful for having, your sense of self-worth and happiness increases. Expressing gratitude regularly in our lives provides health benefits and makes us more inclined to have positive emotions. The benefits of gratitude to our lives can prove to be significant for our well-being.
1. Better mental and physical health
Various studies show the effects that gratitude practice can bring to our lives. When we express gratitude regularly, our physical and mental health benefits significantly.
For physical health, we become less prone to diseases due to having a more robust immune system, sleeping better, and feeling fewer aches and pains in our bodies. Grateful people are also less prone to feeling stressed and depressed. When you feel good, you are also more inclined to exercise and take care of your health.
Expressing gratitude is beneficial to our mental health because it makes us more optimistic about life. As a result, there's more joy and happiness, and we have better peace of mind. In addition, gratitude encourages us to be more active socially. When you derive your happiness from the outside, which gratitude does, you feel more inclined to help others and be more generous. As a result, there's less hatred and resentment towards others. Also, you have more life satisfaction, and you become less materialistic. You feel more inclined to practice virtues like patience and humility when you are feeling grateful. All these things lead to significantly better mental health, and you can form stronger bonds with other people.
2. Gratitude helps block negativity in our lives.
When you let envy, anger, hatred, and regret overtake your life, you are cutting off happiness in your life. Toxic people live and breathe on negative emotions. As a result, toxicity spreads to other people, and you wouldn't want to be like them. Your antidote for toxicity and negativity is by having more gratitude in your life. Start by looking at things you can be grateful for in your life, including the help you got from other people. When you feel grateful, you have more positive emotions. There's less time to feel jealous of what others have and more appreciation for what you have.
3. We appreciate the present moment better
If you are not satisfied with your life and feeling discontented, it's because you are focusing on things you don't have. Sure, you can acquire or do them in the future. The problem is you are focusing too much on the future, and when things don't immediately happen, chances are you will feel disappointed. You might start being ungrateful and would want to acquire more to satisfy yourself.
And even if you do acquire the things you want, the novelty of new things like a car, gadget, or house wanes off quickly. When that happens, you start searching again for something new, leading to a continuous lack of satisfaction. So instead, it's better to focus on the present moment. Learn to appreciate the good fortune you currently have and the value of things we worked hard to attain. When you cultivate gratitude in your life, you learn better to be in the present moment and appreciate your life for what it's worth.
4. Better sense of self-worth
By being a grateful person, you feel more positive emotions, and this leads to better well-being. You also think that you are part of a larger community because you consider what others have done for you as part of being grateful. If you are not practicing gratitude, you might beat yourself up when bad things happen. You might think you are useless for not having the capability to attain what you want. It can worsen if you don't have good relationships with others, primarily if you focus on yourself due to resenting others for what they have. Gratitude can help improve how we view ourselves.
What can we do to express gratitude?
Knowing the benefits that gratitude can bring to our lives, it's essential to understand what you can do to practice it. However, it can be challenging to do if you are not used to expressing gratitude in your life. But, with enough practice, expressing gratitude can become a new habit that can positively affect your life. You can try doing some of the things below:
Write your gratitude journal. In your gratitude journal, you can write down the good stuff that you are grateful for receiving every day. Then, you can always look back on them whenever you feel ungrateful and see that you have many items to count as blessings.
Write a note to someone saying thank you. You can strengthen your relationships with others and make yourself happier by writing a note or letter thanking someone for the good they have done to your life. Try to bring this note in person if you can. If you are feeling shy, you can try sending a thank-you e-mail instead. If e-mail still doesn't work, you can thank someone mentally in your mind.
Pray. If you are a person who practices spirituality and believes in a higher power presiding over your life, you can thank the god that you believe in as a way of being grateful for the things that they gave to you.
Practice mindfulness meditation. When you're too busy rushing things in life, it's easy to take for granted what's happening around you. Make it a habit to spend some moment once in a while to take a break and meditate. Think deeply about what you can be thankful for having and focus on the things that truly matter to you.
Remember adverse events and how you overcame them. Throughout life, bad things inevitably happen. Try to recall an unfortunate event that occurred in the past and how you overcame it. By remembering something terrible that happened in the past, you can be more appreciative that you are still okay in the present.
Practicing gratitude should be a part of your daily life.
The thing with gratitude is that it is easier to practice if you focus more on what you have than what you don't. Spending less time looking at other people's lives and focusing instead on what you can do with what you have can make you more grateful. You can derive more benefits from being grateful than wanting to get more and not feeling any satisfaction. Studies show the positive effects of practicing gratitude. With regular practice, you can make practicing gratitude a habit that can lead to better overall health and improved well-being.