How Can Gratitude Change Our Lives in a Positive Way?

Modern life becomes so hectic, busy and this can make us forget to be grateful for the little things that life throws our way. However, it is possible to shift to an attitude of gratitude, through which a person’s life may significantly improve in terms of happiness, health, and relationships. But what is it really – gratitude and how can this great concept impact our daily experiences for the better?

Understanding Gratitude

Gratitude is being or showing an appreciation of what one has received or experienced. It transcends simple politeness and explores further ways of accepting the things that are good in our lives. This is because when expressing gratitude we accept the good things in life and people that make us happy.

The Meaning of Gratitude

Basically, gratitude is the act of recognising the positive elements of life. It implies cherishing qualities and aspects of the self, people, and environment or context. Such appreciation can be as basic as a cup of tea in the morning to a cup of tea when the world is falling apart. When one practices gratitude he or she slowly changes attitude and perspective from wandering about what one is lacking to looking at the things one has and this brings a lot of satisfaction.

The Science Behind Gratitude

There are many writings that describe how gratefulness promotes the health of both the mind and body. Scientific studies prove that patients expressing gratitude display fewer signs of depression and anxiety, have lower blood pressure, and they sleep much better. Gratitude increases the capability of the body to fight diseases and get well within the shortest time possible.

Another study by Dr. Robert A. Emmons who is considered to be one of the founders of the field of gratitude said that it was possible to note an increased level of alertness, enthusiasm, and energy among the participants of the study who kept a gratitude journal. The self-help group participants were also more active in exercise and had improvements done towards personal goals. This shows that grateful people can have changes in different aspects of their lives.

How to Nurture Gratitude

In fact, the act of cultivating gratitude requires that the practice become normal and become a fixed part of one’s daily life. Here are some practical ways to cultivate a grateful mindset:

Keep a Gratitude Journal: Spend five to ten minutes of your day listing down the things you are grateful for. This simple practice is an effective way to start training your mind see the positive in life and cultivate the appreciation.

Express Thanks: Do not forget to show appreciation to people that impacted your life in one way or the other ways. Regardless of whether it is in a written format as in the form of a written message or an improvised oral message, expressing one’s acknowledgement can improve relations on numerous levels and give a person a sense of belonging to something or to someone.

Reflect on Positive Experiences: It is recommended to invest a few minutes per day on the review of positive experiences. It can also assist in reminding the self the positivity that exists in one’s life rather than dwelling on the negativity.

Practice Mindfulness: This might be further explained as being fully attentive to the experience one is having. In this way, you learn to start paying attention to what is good around you and increase your levels of thankfulness for what is in the present.

Use Gratitude Quotes: Display motivational sayings related to being thankful in your home or other areas frequented by you. All these reminders can assist in redirecting your mind on the things to be grateful for and maintain a grateful attitude. Some popular gratitude quotes include: Some popular gratitude quotes include:

  • "Gratitude turns what we have into enough." – Aesop
  • "The more grateful I am, the more beauty I see." – Mary Davis
  • "Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all others." – Cicero

    Real-Life Stories of Gratitude

    The virtue of thankfulness can positively change people’s lives and turn things around. Here are a few real-life stories that illustrate the profound impact of practising gratitude: Here are a few real-life stories that illustrate the profound impact of practising gratitude:

    Sarah's Journey: Sarah, this woman aged 35 years and mother of three children was always overwhelmed with so many things to do. I chose to write three things I was grateful for in a journal every day. In this case, Sarah started realising a dramatic change of her overall perspectives of things after sometime. She started tolerating her children more, valuing her husband’s support more and even begun to find pleasure in things she could hardly pay attention to.

    Mark's Recovery: Mark, the protagonist of the story, served his country in the war and from that experience had to deal with emergent PTSD and depression. He was also advised to engage in activities that as part of his therapy included practicing in gratitude. Mark then started writing thank you notes to the other soldiers and friendly figures. Thus, regaining his focus on the goal, he re-established a positive view of his relationships as a source of healing. Mark is also great full for this new found grate fullness he says it has helped him a lot in his recovery.

    Emily's Transformation: Emily a corporate executive stressed out and unhappy with her job and general lifestyle. Instead, she agreed to embrace mindfulness techniques and also that of gratitude in her everyday life. When Emily started taking just 5-7 minutes each morning and thinking through what she is thankful for, she started noticing the positive side of things. She realised the need to reciprocate the same support back to her colleagues and realised that she was more motivated to work.

    Start Small: A Ripple Effect of GratitudeThe act of being grateful is not for the selfish end for the person practising the virtue but has the potential to change the environment around it. This is true because through thanking people we encourage them to thank others and thus create a cycle of thanking people and making the environment a happy one. This can mean more intense friendships, better collaboration, and a more unified society.

     In a workplace context, positive promotion of appreciation increases the satisfaction level of the employees and improves workplace productivity through increasing organisational commitment and decreasing turnover rate. Of course, in families, it can bring people closer and help to create warm atmosphere all together. The positive effects of gratitude make the world a better place as more patience and understanding is achieved within society.

    Gratitude and how people can integrate it into their daily lives Implementing gratitude in our lives is not a massive overhaul or a monumental attempt. It may be defined as the deliberate process of focusing on positive occurrences and instances that surround us. Gratitude is a vital component of well-being that can be cultivated in a range of activities from journaling to saying ‘thank you,’ and more. 

    If there is one thing that I have come to understand it is that practicing gratitude can significantly change our lives. We evolve and learn to be more confident, joyful, and strong. Our bonds grow, and connections evolve into something more profound, a higher level of meaning we find in our lives. Gratitude in a world that lacks a lot keeps us focusing on the many things that are available in this world.

    Extend your reading on gratitude by checking out this blog from Harvard: 'Giving thanks can make you happier'

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