1. Gratitude promotes higher self-esteem.
Studies show that people who feel confident in who they are and their abilities can stem from regularly expressing feelings of gratitude. It happens in a daily habits you practice: The more positive you feel within yourself, the more positive energy you express to others and the world around you.
2. Gratitude helps you recognize how much you have.
Let's say finances are tight. Someone who dwells on the negative would probably harp on external causes or their bank charging monthly fees. But someone who regularly practices their gratitude might focus their attention on the rain that nourishes the flowers, the roof over their head every night, or a simple cup of coffee that hits the soul just right every morning. They may focus on their income earning abilities and the opportunities they've had to learn, grow and practice gratitude.
3. Gratitude can help you sleep better.
Can't sleep? Instead of counting sheep, considering counting your blessings. People who struggle to get a good night's sleep could adopt a gratitude practice, and feel less worry and less arousal before bed. This can result in improved sleep overall.
4. Gratitude can help you calm down in tough moments.
All those feel-good chemicals we just mentioned? They're also good for your emotional state. Take this example: Rose tells mbg that during a group mindfulness class in which she led a guided gratitude meditation, one of her clients was able to soften his anger toward his wife by reframing his mindset from hostile to grateful. The couple had gotten into an argument the morning before Rose's class, but by focusing on the fact that he has his wife to argue with rather than the fight itself, the argument became less impactful.
5. Gratitude can help relieve stress.
Practicing gratitude has been shown to improve emotional regulation, a key component of managing stress. Additionally, the gratitude practice relaxed communication between various regions of the brain correlated with increased anxiety, suggesting being grateful might make it easier for the mind to not get so worked up worrying about things.
5 ways to start practicing gratitude:
Set time aside each day to make a list of what you are thankful for. Start with the tiniest details, and write down even just one thing. On days when you’re feeling empty – or just wanting an excuse to smile – go back and read some of your list.
Tell other people “thank you” when they do something kind for you, no matter how small the deed.
Don’t allow other people’s bitterness or negativity, or any other outward circumstance, to influence your inner peace. Look for the best in everyone, and believe and say the best about them.
Anger, disappointment, failure, and frustration are parts of life, but don’t let them become your default emotions. Don’t be complacent and resign yourself to victimhood. Choosing to live from a place of gratitude brings peace.
Build gratitude around you with small, daily, unexpected, undeserved acts of love, compassion, grace, and forgiveness.