I am no stranger to the benefits of gratitude in the face of adversity. When you have cancer, depression, any other illness or maybe just going through a tough season in your life, you’re constantly bombarded with opportunities to feel like a failure. For me, I struggle with being consistent with diet, exercise, sleep etc., because I know how important this is for my health, however, when I fail I become very hard on myself which can lead me to deal with a host of negative feelings. However, embracing a spirit of gratitude has helped me to stay grounded and find positivity in a day filled with opposition. It’s healthy to acknowledge and sit with uncomfortable feelings instead of pushing them away, but the trouble occurs when those draining feelings linger. Its then I know I need to make a shift, and coming back to gratitude is the fastest way to change my state of mind.
Giving or receiving thanks can make you feel good. Research has shown that being grateful has been linked with enhanced feelings of vitality, hope optimism and life satisfaction. In one study, people who wrote down the things that they were grateful for reported fewer symptoms of physical illness, had better quality sleep and spent more time exercising than those who thought of hassles or daily events. Gratitude broadens your ability to think in creative ways and spurs you to build up resources, including relationships and increases the quality of relationship with other people.
Gratitude is an emotion that comes from appreciation. It’s an awareness, a thankfulness for the good things in your life, in you and in the world around you. Gratitude is a powerful thing. It can turn any negative into a positive, change how you feel inside, bring hope and happiness, improve your health, your relationships, your career and so much more. It can literally transform your life.
So often in today’s society, the negative is sensationalized and the positive is ignored. You see it in the news, in magazines and newspapers. You hear it in the grocery store, at work and even from family and friends. All of this negativity can be overwhelming to the point of wearing a person down.
If you’re feeding into the negativity. If you’re focusing on the negative rather than the positive, you are doing yourself a serious disservice. You are harming your emotional wellbeing as well as your physical body. You could be straining your relationships, hurting your career and much more.
When you express gratitude, it diminishes the negativity in a powerful way. Studies show that practicing gratitude leads to:
- A feeling of optimism, joy and satisfaction.
- Less stress, anxiety and depression.
- A strengthened immune system.
- Lower blood pressure.
- The ability to bounce back quicker after a traumatic event.
- Stronger relationships.
- A feeling of being connected to your community.
- Feeling less victimized by others or by life.
- Being able to recognize and appreciate what you have rather than what you don’t.
- You becoming more compassionate and empathetic.
- A better quality and more rewarding life.
Practicing gratitude changes your perspective on life.
Click the link to a free downloadable gratitude journal that you can print and document this process. If expressing and experiencing gratitude doesn’t come easily for you, that’s ok. The more you put that gratitude muscle to use, the easier and more automatic it will be to flex it. 🙂