Gratitude is the practice of being thankful for and appreciating acts of kindness (or things) in your life. There’s lots of research demonstrating just how powerful adopting a simple gratitude practice can be in helping you live a happier, healthier life. Taking just 5-minutes a day to connect with who or what you’re grateful for will have a positive effect across all areas.
The more aware you become of the things you’re grateful for, the more you’ll find. With a little practice, your radar will automatically identify the great things and you’ll notice less and less to worry or complain about.
Gratitude will help to stop you falling into the trap of never feeling satisfied. When your focus is constantly on striving, you can miss out on what you already have. Always wanting something else will hinder the feelings of contentment that come with gratitude.
It’s easy to get so used to the good things, you start to take them for granted without meaning to. How often have you got something you really, really wanted and once the novelty wore off, it became the norm? Your once amazing partner becomes boring, your car isn’t as much fun, your pay rise has been eaten up by yet another bill, and so it goes on.
Benefits of Practicing Gratitude
Become emotionally stronger – Feeling happier in yourself, relaxed, positive and resilient will allow you to feel happy for others too. When you appreciate what you already have, you’ll be less concerned about the materialistic things in life. When you believe life is good, you’ll become more optimistic and start to believe the future is full of good things too.
Gratitude will help you to recognise acts of kindness from others, to feel worthy and build your self-esteem in the process.
Improve relationships – Gratitude will help you to deepen relationships with those who are important to you. This will help you to feel connected to others and being part of a community is important to your wellbeing.
We are drawn to people who are grateful. They are nicer, kinder, more trustworthy and generally better to be around. If you’re grateful, you’re more likely to receive help than someone who isn’t. Recognising the good in others and thanking them will support you in every area of your life.
Improve health and sleep – A gratitude practice is a great way to reduce stress in your life. Increasing your levels of calm will support your overall health and your ability to heal.
If you struggle to sleep and lie in bed replaying everything that’s wrong, it’ll keep you stressed and awake. By focusing on things you’re grateful for before falling asleep, you’ll feel calm and relaxed which will help you to drift off peacefully.
Gratitude Feels Good!
On my last trip to London, I missed a train by seconds and when the next one finally arrived, we just sat at the station. It turned out the train in front had broken down and I was grateful for missing it. My car was in the carpark, so I could jump off the train and find another route into town.
I overheard a lady (who’d been sitting near me on the train) say there were no cabs left so offered her a lift. I got the chance to chat with Mary (a retired teacher) who had lots of interesting stories and was great company. She was incredibly grateful for a lift and I was happy to help a fellow traveller.
Develop Your Gratitude Practice
Find 5-minutes in your day for a gratitude practice and you’ll soon start to experience the benefits. I write down three things I’m grateful for every day and spend a little time connecting with the feelings of gratitude for them. If you don’t want to write them down, just go through them in your head and allow yourself to appreciate how grateful you feel.
Gratitude increases happiness! Being happy feels amazing and has been proven to add years to your life – what better reason for adding a little gratitude practice to your day?
“The miracle of gratitude is that it shifts your perception to such an extent that it changes the world you see.” Dr Robert Holden