Gratitude is one of the strongest emotions a human being can experience. It widens your perception of the world around you, while making you thankful for the opportunities you are provided with on a daily basis. There are many studies that provide evidence of gratitude making a positive impact in mentally unwell patients – but it also positively affects pretty much everyone.
Robert Emmons wrote in an article for greatergood.berkely.edu that – “people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:
- Stronger immune systems
- Less bothered by aches and pains
- Lower blood pressure
- Exercise more and take better care of their health
- Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking
- Higher levels of positive emotions
- More alert, alive, and awake
- More joy and pleasure
- More optimism and happiness
- More helpful, generous, and compassionate
- More forgiving
- More outgoing
- Feel less lonely and isolated. “
So you can obviously see why we do it. What this article is going to focus on is how.
How to Practice Gratitude
Robert Emmons explains that there are two key parts in practicing gratitude –
- We affirm the good things we’ve received
- We acknowledge the role other people play in providing our lives with goodness
Therefore practicing gratitude can be achieved in multiple ways. In our opinion, the best and most common trend at the moment is gratitude journaling. This is a great way to get your thoughts down – and provides a great reference point for your day.
Pick three things, and write down what they are and why you are grateful. Be concise and truthful – don’t just write it down and say you’re finished. Think deeply and meaningfully about it. This is just for you. You can think about things you have, experiences you’ve had, life-changing moments or even that one random conversation you had with a stranger.
Gratitude journaling is a great first step – but it doesn’t end there. You need to carry it on throughout your day. Notice things you wouldn’t normally be grateful for. Blue sky, clean water – things that are often taken for granted. Be social and express gratitude. Say thank you or tell your friend how much you appreciate them. Gratitude is not a “one and done” thing – it’s a journey and eventually a lifestyle.
Other people prefer to stop, think and absorb what they are looking or feeling. Be in the moment and find things to be thankful for. Two key obstacles for gratefulness are forgetting to be grateful and a lack of awareness. The more you practice trying to find things to be grateful for – the better you become at it. Here’s a great, insightful Youtube video on gratitude – it’s a bit long but provides amazing tips and ideas.
Gratitude is a great step in self-improvement, and often the most noticeable in a person. Be that person. Make people smile, make people aware that you love and appreciate them. Gratitude is contagious – the more you give, the more you receive. Let us know how you go.
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Kaiya King – Author
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