Have you ever said thank you to someone? Did it make you feel good? Or have you ever counted your blessings and experienced happiness? Showing gratitude is just not an action; instead, it is an emotion. Gratitude is a positive emotion that signals our recognition of the thing’s others have done for us. It helps in connecting ourselves to people around us, nature, and even higher power. This article focuses upon benefits and ways to practice gratitude in our lives to experience better well-being.
Gratitude helps in enhancing an individual’s well-being and reduces negative emotions in one’s life. It even helps in improving the level of productivity and efficiency. Gratitude not only benefits the benefactor but also helps to focus on one’s health and well-being. For example, Karan is a teenager feeling gratitude towards his coach for motivating him to perform his best. He may wish to make his coach proud by eating less sugary snacks.
Similarly, Kiran is a working professional who expresses gratitude towards her mother for cooking for her every day. She might wish to express her gratitude and her efforts by choosing to eat more green vegetables and fruits. Even various studies have shown that teenagers who express gratitude have healthier and better-eating behaviour and have a low risk of developing any eating disorders.
By practising gratitude, you can experience the following benefits-
Improved mood- An individual who practices gratitude regularly tends to have a festive mood. Practising gratitude helps to focus on happy and positive things in life, which improve mental well-being and lead to a lower rate of stress and depression.
Improved optimism- An individual who practices gratitude regularly tends to become more optimistic in life as they have a positive outlook on life.
Improves empathy and reduces aggression- Individuals who practise gratitude tend to behave in a prosocial manner. They tend to experience more empathy for others, even when they might be not experiencing the same. Various studies suggest that grateful people are more sensitive and have a low desire to experience revenge or show anger.
Better social relationships- Various studies have shown that an individual who practices gratitude or interacts with individuals who practice gratitude tends to feel more loved, connected to others. This helps in better connection and improves not only our social but personal relationships.
Better physical health- Individuals who practise gratitude tend to engage in more physical activities. Grateful individuals tend to experience less pain and fewer aches. According to a study published in 2012, individuals who practice gratitude feel healthier than other individuals. Grateful individuals exercise more often, have a higher energy level, a healthy immunity system, and experience better sleep.
Better psychological health- An individual practising gratitude experiences better and healthy well-being. Gratitude helps in reducing a multitude of toxic emotions, whether it regret or resentment. Gratitude helps in fighting depression and reduces stress levels.
Here are a few ways which can help you in practising gratitude every day such that it improves your physical and mental well-being-
Maintain a journal- Every morning, write down five things in your journal about the things you are grateful for. Keep doing this activity for three weeks and notice the change.
Appreciate everything – You don’t need to find something special every day to be thankful. Try being grateful for small things like clean water. The habit of practising gratitude starts with apricating every small good thing in life. From appreciating how a stronger stooped the lift door for you to the taxi driver who waited for you for extra five minutes, try being grateful to the smallest events in your day.
Practice Mindfulness- An individual can daily sit and think through the things that they are thankful for in their life. You can feel the gratitude and picture the things that you are grateful for in your life. An individual who practices this every day their brain automatically becomes more grateful and the individual starts to experience feelings of happiness and empathy.
Try volunteering- An individual can start spending some of their free time volunteering. They can teach, participate in donation drives, etc. Some individuals feel more gratitude when they provide back or help their community members. Various studies have suggested that helping others increases our well-being and our ability to experience more gratitude in life.
Let us know what gratitude means to you, or how do you practise gratitude.