It just happens. You feel stuck, but you know that something needs to change. You might think you’re too old, too young, too frustrated, or too helpless to change your life. Well, consider this your friendly nudge in the right direction.
They say the biggest room in the house is that for improvement, and gratitude is the door that opens to that.
Here are some ways gratitude changes your life:
It makes you happier.
If you want to experience positive emotions, be grateful.
When you express gratitude, your brain releases hormones that make you feel good and help you regulate your moods.
By simply exercising gratitude, pleasure increases, so you can enjoy living more! You get to appreciate good experiences, say traveling to a new city or even enjoying the coolness of ice cream on a hot summer’s day.
On the other hand, ungrateful people will always find something to complain or be angry about. Good experiences often go unappreciated, because their minds are on what they don’t have instead of what they do have.
To avoid going this route, shift your focus. The things you can be grateful for are right beside you, around you, or in front of you!
It makes you healthier.
Gratitude can also improve your physical health.
A study by Portland State University reports that nurses who received thanks more often at work benefited from fewer headaches, better sleep, and healthier eating habits.
Research also shows that gratitude strengthens your immune system, lowers your chances of getting diseases, and helps you sleep like a baby.
Looks like those with sleeping problems might need to stop counting sheep and start counting their blessings!
It makes you more resilient.
Stress is a fact of life. But if you’re an ungrateful person, you’ll find it very hard to handle the trials that are sure to come your way. Yes, you can’t be shielded from problems. But through gratitude, you can develop resilience.
Try thinking of the things you can be grateful for: having a home, fresh linens, a loving family, your best friend, a stable job, a full bookshelf, weekends to rest, access to clean water, being able to breathe, anything!
You’ll find that you might feel down, but you won’t stay down. You’ll bounce back faster from pain and defeat, and it’s all thanks to gratitude.
If you find it hard to be grateful, remember this: Gratitude starts with an appreciation of the good in your life, and this “good” doesn’t necessarily have to come from yourself. Good can come from the gifts that you receive from others, or even a higher power if you’re spiritual.
It also doesn’t have to come from material things. An offer of friendship is good; the simple privilege of smelling freshly brewed coffee in the morning is also good. Getting to live another day and having the chance to do better than yesterday is very, very good.
Gratitude cannot be achieved with mere positive thinking. Instead, you need to take positive action to cultivate it in your life. Here are some ways to experience the benefits of gratitude:
- Write a letter of appreciation to family, friends, colleagues, or even your pet.
- Keep a gratitude journal.
- Don’t rush experiences. Be present in the moment and enjoy them.
- Take a break from looking at other people’s lives on social media. Instead, focus on improving yours.
- Think about how challenging situations built your character.
- Practice the discipline of silence when you’re tempted to complain.
- Look for wonder in the natural world.
- Volunteer in or donate to a good cause.
Practice gratitude every day and change your life.