We all know by now that feeling grateful is a good thing – something that fills your mind with positivity, lifts your mood, and helps you view the world more positively.
But it turns out that gratitude might have a bigger impact than you realize!
While we all feel a sense of gratitude from time to time, whether it’s after receiving a spontaneous gift or being awarded something, gratitude can be much more than a feeling you experience on rare occasions.
If cultivated and practiced, it can become a way of life. There’s even evidence to suggest that practicing gratitude can change the way you think of the world around you and rewire your brain and body for happiness, even improving your health along the way. Sign us all up, right?
Benefits of Gratitude
So just how does it work?
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to living a life of gratitude, studies show that gratitude can go a long way in changing the way we think. Here are a few benefits of gratitude!
Blocks Negative and Toxic Emotions
You cannot be both envious and grateful at the same time. By choosing gratitude, you are essentially blocking negative and toxic emotions – filling the space with positive thoughts instead. Emotions such as envy, regret, and resentment are reduced when you fill the space with grateful thoughts instead.
Reduces Anxiety and Stress
Grateful people are often more resistant to stress. According to one study, subjects who felt grateful recovered more quickly after something traumatic than those who didn't.
Activates the Body's Control Center
The hypothalamus is the part of your brain that is responsible for regulating your bodily functions such as sleep, metabolism, and hunger. It is one of the body’s control centers, and gratitude appears to motivate it to excel. This part of the brain is activated when we feel gratitude, pride, or do something altruistic for somebody else.
And there’s more! Research shows that people who keep gratitude journals consistently report a host of health benefits – including better sleep and a stronger immune system, just to name a few.
How to Practice Gratitude
Our Top Tips For Cultivating Gratitude
Practicing gratitude can seem difficult at first, but being grateful and showing it could help train the mind to develop better habits. Here are our favorite ways to practice gratitude!
Spend Time Outside
When you are constantly bombarded with negativity, from the news to advertisements, from social media to phone calls, you can start to feel the impact it has on your life. Taking a few minutes each day to go outside and be in the silence of nature can help you reflect on what’s really important, shifting your mindset to one of gratitude.
Express Gratitude to Others
There are opportunities all around you to show your gratitude. You can express it to a close friend or family member, or even to a complete stranger. When you share some of your gratitude with others, it spills over into their lives and gives them that happy feeling as well.
Having a hard time thinking of something to be grateful for? All you really need to do is take a look around you. Paying attention to what you have – instead of what you don’t – will boost your grateful spirit. Build in a few quiet moments of meditation to mentally run through what or who you're grateful for!
Keep a Gratitude Journal
Keeping a gratitude journal is perhaps one of the best ways to practice gratitude. Write down just a few things you are grateful for every day – or even just one! It really is that simple. Jot down a few things in your Flagship Planner, a Notebook, or this Free Gratitude Printable to note what you're thankful for. Maintaining this habit will help give you a new perspective on what’s important and will remind you of just how much you have to be thankful for!
Finally, gratitude is addicting. Once you practice looking at the world through a grateful lens, you’ll find that the feelings that you get in return will make you want to do it again! Try it for yourself. Take note, and over time, see how your life has changed.