The Magic of Gratitude
The word gratitude derives from the latin word “gratia” and means gratefulness or thankfulness. With gratitude people acknowledge and are conscious of all that is good in their lives.
Gratitude is a practice that we should engage in as often as possible. Dwelling in the energy of gratitude is powerful and enables us to receive more of what we are already grateful for.
The law of attraction means that we will attract into our life the things that we think about and focus on. When we are consciously aware of our blessings and are grateful for them, we are focusing more clearly on what we do want and will attract more of the same, such as, good health, good friends and relationships, finances, employment, etc.
Gratitude is about noticing and being thankful for all the positive aspects of our lives and noticing and focusing on the goodness in the world.
Having an attitude of gratitude does not mean ignoring the negative stuff that we experience and witness in the world, it simply means that we never lose sight and focus of the good.
In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people to feel more positive emotions, enjoy good experiences, deal with adversity, improve their health and build strong relationships.
Adopting an overall attitude of gratitude can be life changing. More and more of us are taking to making daily gratitude lists as a reminder of the many positive aspects of our lives. Being in an appreciative state of mind leads to a positive transformation of our thought process.
I understand completely that it is not easy to be in a positive state of mind all of the time and it is ok to have negative thoughts and feelings occasionally. However, we should aim to try to cultivate a positive attitude and an attitude of gratitude as our default.
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Some of the many benefits of gratitude are:
- Gratitude increases mental strength – studies show that practicing gratitude can boost happiness and resilience. Resilience depends upon optimism and hope for the future, which is strengthened when you practice focusing on what you are grateful for and the positive things that already exist in your life.
- Gratitude decreases stress and depression – being grateful reduces stress by taking our minds away from toxic emotions and helps us to focus more on the positive aspects of any situation that we may find ourselves in. Depression thrives on negative overthinking and leads to a downward spiral. Gratitude on the other hand helps to create more positive, optimistic thoughts instead of doubt, fear and hopelessness.
- Gratitude helps to improve physical health – Research has shown that it can help with lowering blood pressure and maintaining a healthy immune system. Grateful people also tend to exercise more, take better care of their health and suffer from fewer pains and illnesses. A huge source of negative physical health comes from inflammation. Stress is a huge source of inflammation in the body. Gratitude reduces stress levels and can reduce inflammation and increase motivation to improve physical health./
- Gratitude strengthens relationships – by propelling us to initiate, maintain and strengthen relationships. Expressing gratitude towards those around us makes for a closer and more satisfying and invested relationship.
- Gratitude can help you sleep better – Research in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research has found that feeling grateful aids people in sleeping better and longer. This has been attributed to a calmer nervous system. When you sincerely cultivate gratitude throughout the day, you’re more likely to get a better night’s sleep.
- Gratitude has been shown to boost self esteem and confidence – If we can practice focusing on the positive aspects of our lives, including our strengths and unique abilities, this will help to improve our self esteem and confidence. When we are grateful, we feel better about our lives and do not feel the need to make unhealthy comparisons with others. Gratitude enables us to recognise positively that there is room for everyone to be happy and successful. A grateful attitude is a form of love towards ourselves and others, which is vital for a happy life.
- Gratitude helps increase energy levels – People who are stressed and depressed tend to be sluggish and lack energy and motivation. Gratitude can help to improve mood and outlook on life and thereby increase energy levels.
Gratitude is a powerful means of transforming your mind so that you are focused more on the positive aspects and possibilities that exist in your life. It is difficult to see the positives when you are feeling depressed and anxious.
Bear in mind that negative thoughts can distort reality and that there are always positives even if you don’t see them straight away.
“Every cloud has a silver lining. Locate the silver lining and stay focused on it. Once you are predominantly focused on that silver lining, the cloud will soon disappear.”
Ways to Practice Gratitude:
- Keep a gratitude journal and or make a daily written list of at least 3 things that you are grateful for. This is a good and effective way of practicing gratitude.
- You can also practice gratitude by being mindful of your surroundings and trying always to be focused on the present moment. Learn to appreciate what’s around you and your experiences. Try to appreciate that most experiences ultimately are working towards your greater good even when simply teaching you something about yourself.
- Believe that your life is an amazing work in progress and be grateful for who you are.
Robert Emmons, a leading gratitude researcher has conducted several studies on the link between gratitude and well being. His conclusion is that gratitude increases happiness and reduces depression. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression.
I STRONGLY BELIEVE THAT THE UNIVERSE IS ALWAYS CONSPIRING TO HELP US BECOME THE VERY BEST VERSIONS OF OURSELVES. THIS SOMETIMES MEANS THAT PARTS OF OUR LIVES HAVE TO UNDERGO A TRANSFORMATION. SUCH TRANSFORMATION IS NOT ALWAYS PRETTY, JUST LOOK AT WHAT A CATERPILLAR HAS TO GO THROUGH IN ORDER TO BECOME A BEAUTIFUL SOARING BUTTERFLY. THINKING THIS WAY HELPS ME TO “KEEP MY EYE ON THE PRIZE” ACKNOWLEDGING AND GIVING THANKS FOR EACH STAGE OF MY JOURNEY.
I HOPE THIS SOMEHOW RESONATES WITH YOU AND LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR COMMENTS.