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What are the Benefits of Gratitude?

I love gratitude.

This time of the year is the best time to learn how to express it.

The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. Gratitude is an appreciation for what an individual receives, whether it is tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the good in their lives. In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.

People feel and express gratitude in multiple ways. They can apply it to the past by claiming positive memories and being thankful for elements of their childhood or past blessings, the present by not taking good fortune for granted as it comes, and the future by maintaining a hopeful and optimistic attitude. Regardless of the inherent or current level of someone’s gratitude, it’s a quality that individuals can successfully cultivate further.

So, how can gratitude change your mindset? Let’s take a closer look.

 A Gratitude Journal

Gratitude journals have been known to help the reverse the cycle of negative thinking. The best way to do it is by just getting started and not overthinking how or a by employing a specific process. Make it a habit to write down thoughts about things in your life each day. Allow yourself just to write and not to overanalyze. A gratitude journal is a great way to think about what you’re grateful for in your life each day. What makes your life so amazing? What makes you feel blessed and happy? Think about those things and write about them!

There are some incredible benefits to keeping a gratitude journal, such as:

  • Feeling calmer at night
  • Decreased levels of stress
  • Gaining a new perspective of what is important to you and what you appreciate in your life
  • By clarifying your thoughts on what you want to have more of in your life, and what you can remove from your life.
  • Helps you focus on what really matters.
  • Help you become more self-aware
  • Read back through your gratitude journal to readjust your attitude and remember all of the wonderful things and people that you have in your life

It is important to plan to maintain your journal on a consistent basis in order to continually capture all of the benefits. I love to write in mine each morning with a cup of coffee before I start my day. Some prefer to do it before bed because then they can capture their day. There isn’t a right or a wrong; it’s about just doing it!

Giving Thanks Year-Round

Gratitude also has been known to improve health when it is expressed regularly. According to UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center, expressing gratitude regularly literally changes the molecular structure of the brain, it keeps the gray matter functioning, and makes individuals healthier and happier. To consistently reap these health- and other- benefits we want to do this year-round. So, what else can gratitude do for us and our lives?

  • Gratitude opens the door to more- or improved- relationships
  • Gratitude improves physical health
  • Gratitude improves emotional well-being
  • Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression
  • Grateful people sleep better
  • Gratitude improves self-esteem
  • Gratitude increases mental strength

I have found that improving these things have also helped to improve other areas of life such as one’s career and job search and decisions related to those because it has improved the clarity and the power in which those decisions are made.

What better reason than to get started today?

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