Gratitude, and why it’s so important…
Practicing Gratitude is one of the most significant ways in which you can improve your mindset and in turn, your life satisfaction and happiness. Yet this transformative practice remains underused and undervalued – crazy when the benefits are nearly endless!
People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they’re thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems. From my perspective as a coach, helping clients develop gratitude practice is both relevant and important within every area of life, it is a power tool in creating positive change. Check out just a few of the known benefits to our wellbeing;
- Makes us happier
Makes us healthier
Makes us a better friend, partner, parent, colleague, neighbour
Boosts our career
Strengthens our emotions
Develops our personality
Makes us more optimistic
Makes us feel less self-centred
Makes us more likely to exercise
Reduces feelings of envy
Increases your capacity to achieve goals
Improves our decision-making skills
I believe that practicing gratitude can help us live longer – there’s no scientific evidence to back this one but think about it – with so many proven benefits to our health and happiness, it makes absolute sense that our natural lifespan can be improved. But what does it mean to be grateful?
We are taught from the moment we begin to talk to say thank you for the things that we are given by others and while this is absolutely right, we are not as easily taught to find joy and be thankful for all the little things that make us who we are and impact the life we are blessed to have – that is being grateful on a deeper, more meaningful level.
Freshen Up Your Thanks
The best way to reap the benefits of gratitude is to notice new things you’re grateful for every day. Having a gratitude journal works brilliantly because it slowly changes the way we perceive situations by adjusting what we focus on. While you might always be thankful for your great family, just writing “I’m grateful for my family” week after week doesn’t keep your brain on alert for fresh grateful moments. Get specific by writing (something like) “Today my husband ran me a bath and bought me a glass of wine when he knew I was really stressed” or “My son came and gave me a hug and told me he loved me”. Specifics in this context matter because they help us form memories and deepen our bonds. And be sure to stretch yourself beyond the great
stuff right in front of you. Opening your eyes to more of the world around you can deeply enhance your gratitude practice. Make a point of noticing new things each day.
Get Real About Your Gratitude Practice
Being excited about the benefits of gratitude can be a great thing because it can be the motivation we need to start making positive changes. But if our excitement about sleeping better because of our newfound gratitude keeps us from anticipating how tired we’ll be tomorrow night when we attempt to journal, we’re likely to fumble and lose momentum. It’s important to be optimistic about the benefits of developing a new lifestyle habit while also being realistic about how difficult building the habit
might be. Try to identify and plan for the obstacles that may get in the way. So, if you tend to be exhausted at night, accept that it might not be the best time to focus for a few extra minutes and practice your gratitude in the morning instead.
Gratitude is about grounding. Giving us the time to reflect and focus on the things that make a difference to who we are, the choices we make and the lives we live. It brings rejuvenated value and meaning to the things we otherwise take for granted and allows us to discover the power of simple.