Do you want to be happy in life? Do you wish to be healthier? Do you want a deeper and more loving relationship? What if I told you all of that is possible and even more? And it’s easier than you can imagine. Would you believe me? Well, you should. Practicing gratitude and maintaining a gratitude journal can significantly change your life.
You will gain a new perspective in life as gratitude will positively impact your mindset, motivation, and mood. But despite all the research and scientific evidence, most of us refrain from practicing gratitude on a daily basis.
“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” – Zig Ziglar
Now it’s time to change that because gratitude is the magic solution that can help change your life.
What is gratitude?
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” – Anonymous
Gratitude is the practice of appreciating what you have and being thankful for it. It refers to noticing and enjoying the simple pleasures, acknowledging what you are receiving, and feeling blessed. It means you are mindful and aware of what you have been blessed with continually. This allows you to find miracles in everything you do and have in your life. It helps to shift your mindset from scarcity to abundance and enables you to see what is already present in your life instead of what is lacking.
Psychological and behavioral studies have found that practicing gratitude and keeping a daily gratitude journal can help you improve your life in surprising ways. Being thankful allows you to be happier, flexible, and mentally strong. Gratitude also helps to improve your health, reduce anxiety & stress, and strengthen your relationships.
Related: Experiencing The Beauty Of Gratitude
Developing an attitude of gratitude
“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.” – Aesop (c.620-560 BC)
I know how cheesy this may sound to you right now. I was there not too long ago. I used to be ungrateful in life and always wanted more out of life. I believed I was capable of achieving much more and was stuck due to some bad luck streak. It was only after losing all that I had I realized I had everything I needed. No, this is not a plot from a Hollywood romcom. This is how real life works. It was only after I was unemployed, dumped (not in that order), depressed, friendless, broke, and hopeless, I learned how gratitude could change my life. Even when I had nothing, I still had enough to stand back up.
It was very easy to be ungrateful in this digital age. All those Instagram posts and those fabulous so-called influencers do is make us feel how worthless our life is. The only thing these influencers do is leave us wanting more. To look better. To eat at fancier restaurants. To wear expensive clothes. To go travel in exotic locations.
I am not saying wanting all that is wrong. You should strive to achieve more and live a better life. But when you feel the life you have right now is not good enough, that’s where the problem begins. Society has by default programmed us to be ungrateful. We are programmed to seek more. Buy more, consume more. And this can make us disillusioned into wanting things that we don’t really want and not be grateful for our lives.
And this is why it’s even more important now for us to develop an attitude of gratitude. Personally, I thought gratitude was a bit cliche. Some kind of psychological hack that’s supposed to make feel better for a while. So I dismissed it initially. But as I did some research and started maintaining a gratitude journal regularly and intentionally, I realized this was the exact solution I needed in my life.
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” – Robert Brault
After practicing gratitude for a few months, I became a more humble and generally happier person. I felt a lot more calmer than before and way less frustrated than I used to be.
Here are a few benefits I personally experienced after keeping a daily gratitude journal for a few months:
- I had a more positive mindset and was more optimistic in life.
- I had high energy levels and all the lethargy was gone.
- I felt enthusiastic and more joyful.
- I was far less depressed, irritated, and stressed.
- I was exercising regularly was a lot healthier.
- I was sleeping better every night.
- I was more focused on work and had job satisfaction.
- I found inner peace and was more content and happier.
Gratitude allowed me to experience happiness, contentment, and inner peace after a long, long time. All the failures I had gone through in my life made it easier for me to identify the small things I needed to be thankful for. Gratitude empowered me to gain a new perspective and transformed my life.
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein
Several studies have found that practicing gratitude can actually help you feel a lot better and happier in life from a psychological viewpoint. It can also greatly improve your health other than reducing your stress levels and improving your mood. During the 1980s, academic psychologists studied the effects of gratitude and various other positive psychological tools.
The researchers found that practicing gratitude regularly can lead to reduced depression, decreased stress and anxiety, improved happiness, and overall emotional well-being.
Moreover, in 2003 psychologists Robert Emmons of the University of California and Michael McCollough of Southern Methodist University in Dallas conducted a study on gratitude and how it impacts our general well-being. The two psychologists asked hundreds of university students to write down a list of things they were grateful for and submit their gratitude list on a weekly basis.
At the end of the study, it was found that the students were a lot happier and their lives had visibly improved. The researchers concluded that practicing gratitude can boost your happiness levels by almost 25%.
Why gratitude matters?
“Gratitude will shift you to a higher frequency, and you will attract much better things.” – Rhonda Byrne
You can never imagine how simply being thankful can bring such a huge change in your life until you start practicing gratitude. It will not only make you a more positive and happier person, but gratitude will also make you more productive, more generous, more confident, an achiever, and much better in all your relationships.
Here’s how incorporating gratitude into your life will change your life
1. Gratitude makes you positive.
Practicing gratitude helps to shift your mental focus from shortage, lack, and negativity to developing a more abundance mindset. What we focus on in life, is exactly what we get. It’s what we move towards. It’s what the universe gives us. When you are hooked on to negativity, you will keep focusing on your problems even though they can be solved easily. On the contrary, when you are optimistic, you will only focus on achieving your goals despite having numerous obstacles.
By focusing on what you have in your life and being thankful for it, you can gain a monumental shift in what you focus on in life. Gratitude helps you move from a state of shortage to a state of abundance.
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all others.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero
Related: On Gratitude: 3 Lessons This Realist Needs to Learn
2. Gratitude enhances the quality of your life.
Gratitude can change your life by greatly improving how you live. From your emotional strength and mental health to spiritual wellness and even physical health, all can be improved by the mere act of practicing gratitude.
A number of studies have associated the practice of gratitude with experiencing satisfaction in life. It’s no surprise that grateful people are contented, satiated, and fulfilled.
3. Gratitude makes you happier.
When you practice gratitude regularly, you can drastically change your life and be a lot happier. As I mentioned earlier, the study by psychologists Dr. Robert A. Emmons and Dr. Michael E. McCullough found that their control group of participants were a lot happier about life simply by writing down things they were thankful for.
This forces you to appreciate what you have instead of focusing on what you don’t. Being grateful makes you feel better about yourself and allows you to enjoy yourself and your life just the way it is.
4. Gratitude improves your faith.
“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” – Willie Nelson
Regardless of what religion you believe in, gratitude can enhance and strengthen your faith in God or the Universe and eventually transform your life. By being grateful, you develop a deeper appreciation for the blessings you receive in life. This not only improves your belief in your spiritual self and the Supreme Being, but it also strengthens your faith.
You start to believe that everything is happening for a reason and you have the strength to stand whatever storm you are facing. That you will be able to overcome every obstacle and emerge victoriously. It gives you the inner strength to accomplish your goals and become a more empathetic and better person.
5. Gratitude gives you mental peace.
When you stop believing you will be happy when you do this or achieve that, when you stop continually pursuing something when you are grateful for exactly what you have right now, you experience a certain type of inner peace. You develop an inner belief that gives you peace of mind which can never be experienced when you live with constant expectation.
It makes you humble even when you rise to success. This is something you can never get when you are manipulating yourself or others to achieve your feeble-minded goals. Gratefulness and gratitude instill positive vibrations, goodwill, and inner peace that enable you to add value to your community and the world.
Apart from these, here are some other ways practicing gratitude can change your life:
6. Gratitude improves your physical, mental and emotional health.
7. Gratitude reduces your inner fears and phobias.
8. Gratitude makes you more productive and improves our career.
9. Gratitude helps develop your personality.
10. Gratitude makes you less self-centered.
11. Gratitude reduces aggression and enhances empathy.
12. Gratitude boosts mental strength.
13. Gratitude reduces jealousy and envy.
14. Grateful helps you sleep better.
15. Gratitude makes you less materialistic.
16. Gratitude improves your self-esteem.
17. Gratitude helps you relax.
18. Gratitude increases your energy levels.
19. Gratitude allows you to make new friends.
20. Gratitude deepens your relationships and marriage.
21. Gratitude helps you achieve your goals.
22. Gratitude makes you live longer.
I hope these reasons are enough for you to start practicing gratitude and keeping your own gratitude journal from today. Although it is not a cure-all solution, gratitude is a criminally underutilized tool that can improve happiness and satisfaction in life.
Related: 7 Laws of Gratitude That Will Change Your Life
Cultivate gratitude, cultivate happiness
“Learn to be thankful for what you already have, while you pursue all that you want.” – Jim Rohn
If you feel you deserve a life better than you are living right now, then it’s time for you to give gratitude a try. It will give you the peace you need and the strength to create the life you believe you deserve. What I have realized is that it doesn’t matter how much we have achieved in life. What matters is how well we have lived our lives. How we feel. What we think. How satisfied we are with ourselves while we strive to create a better life. How much we appreciate life and the ones we have with us on this amazing journey.
Gratitude teaches us to be grateful for being alive irrespective of the circumstances. And that kind of thinking develops a lot of mental and emotional strength. This is the kind of thinking that drives you towards success and happiness. This is the kind of thinking that you can develop through gratitude.
Gratitude is the easiest and simplest practice that helps you change your life and feel the happiness and peace you have inside.
Thanks cost nothing.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How often should you practice gratitude?
Practicing gratitude regularly can lead to reduced depression, decreased stress and anxiety, improved happiness, and overall emotional well-being.
How do I start practicing gratitude?
Thank someone or express your gratitude to yourself in writing. Good things should be appreciated and enjoyed, so pay close attention to the wonderful things in life.
What is the best way to express thanksgiving gratitude?
This Thanksgiving, writing out your thankfulness to those around you is the best way to show your appreciation. You might even begin by simply thanking someone.
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