Gratitude can sometimes be downplayed or mistaken for toxic positivity. And when we are in grief, gratitude can seem unhelpful and insufficient. However, the benefits of engaging in a regular gratitude practice are many and life changing.
Firstly, let's look at an age-old formula for joy.
Perceived goodness + gratitude = joy.
As we notice the good things in our lives, and imagine not having those things, we experience feelings of gratitude which inspires great happiness.
Grateful people are joyous people. They experience a deeper level of contentment and find pleasure in seemingly ordinary things. They have a tendency to look on the bright side and see the beauty and fortune in their lives.
Joy also has positive effects on the mind and body.The most advantageous being that it boosts the immune system, fights pain and supports longevity. Yes, joy makes us strong!
Secondly, gratitude builds resilience. When challenging times come, gratitude helps us to withstand and recover quicker. Practicing gratitude widens our minds which assists us to create. In hard times, creativity is not only healing, but proactive and solution based. Gratitude helps us to see what we have, and how we can use it to lift and move forward.
Here we have highlighted four powerful benefits you can achieve when gratitude is practised on a daily basis.
Gratitude fosters thinking that is focused on the long term. Those that are grateful see that the present moment holds all they need to get them where they need to go. They are able to combat the fear of lack that at times stirs up feelings of powerlessness.
Improved self-esteem is another benefit of gratitude. Those who are thankful generally feel better about themselves. It is hard for us to see our strengths, capabilities and talents when we are down on ourselves. Gratitude makes our assets visible. Instead of being critical of our shortcomings, gratitude celebrates advantages and the things that make us unique.
Negative thoughts can distort the way we perceive our lives. Gratitude focuses on the positives, especially the positives that are not obvious at first. The more we practice gratitude, whether it be through mindfulness or starting a gratitude journal, the more we see our worth and value.
Finally, gratitude reduces stress. According to Psychology Today, ‘When a sudden stressful event or circumstances arise, the body responds naturally by releasing adrenaline and cortisol. Cortisol is responsible for increases in glucose in the bloodstream to facilitate activity in the brain and repair of tissues. When stress persists and turns into chronic stress, cortisol and other hormones are active routinely, which can lead to anxiety, depression, headaches and a myriad of other mental and physical health problems.
Gratitude helps lower cortisol levels in our bodies. We can avoid the negative consequences related to stress through a regular gratitude practice.
As you can see, these four benefits of practising gratitude alone (and we haven't even scratched the surface of what we can actually gain) can strongly affect our lives, both in everyday moments and over the years. The fallout of not embracing a life of gratitude is too significant to ignore.
Of course, you don't have to buy anything in order to practice gratitude. However, if you want to thank someone or even express gratitude to yourself, please check out these unique and thoughtful gratitude gift ideas. The benefits of gift-giving are endless!