The Benefits Of Gratitude

gratitude-happiness-2

There are many benefits of being grateful. According to “the experts” (whoever that is) people who regularly practice gratitude have:

Higher self-esteem

Increased resilience

Enhanced empathy

Improved physical health

Enriched social life

Improved sleep

Increased immune systems

Increased overall happiness

Wow! Sign me up! Those are all qualities I want in my life. In fact, those are just the type of characteristics I hoped I could attain and help others attain when I started writing this blog. “Living Healthier and Happier” is my battle cry and these are foundational to that.

So how do we learn to be more grateful and enjoy all these benefits? Much like other positive characteristics, traits and habits, it takes discipline and practice. You knew there was a catch, didn’t you? But it’s actually very easy to add the gratitude habit to your life. Certainly much easier than exercising every morning and saying no to that glorious chocolate cake.

gratitude changes outlook

Here are 7 ways to become a more grateful person:

Gratitude Journal – This is the one that keeps coming up everywhere I look. So many people have transformed their lives by this simple practice. Many people do this just before bed to remind themselves about the many ways they have been blessed during the day. This helps you sleep better because you end the day on a positive note and have hope for tomorrow. I choose to do this in the morning while my mind is fresh and eager for new experiences. I like to pick one thing I am grateful for and just begin writing specific reasons why this is important to me and how it enhances my life.

Gratitude Jar – I see this as a variation of the Gratitude Journal. But rather than sitting down and focusing on your blessings you must be attuned to the things you are grateful for as you go about your day. Each time something strikes you as being a blessing and you are grateful, write it down and put it in a jar. At some point, many do this on New Year’s Day, pull them out and review them.

Be Social – Share your gratitude with family and friends. After all, the blessings that are the most meaningful are those involving other people. Since we are around family and friends most we should direct our gratefulness to them. You will pass on the gratitude mindset as you share your blessings with them. But even strangers we meet during the day can be the recipients of our gratefulness. If someone brightens our day and we recognize that we can, in turn, make a difference in their day as well. Of course sincerity is key here. Don’t pretend. People see right through you.

Read the Bible – The Bible is the most hopeful and encouraging book ever written and we can learn much about gratitude from the scriptures. One of my favorites is I Thessalonians 5:16-18, Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Another favorite is Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; I will say it again Rejoice. And I Chronicles 16:34, Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Prayer & Meditation – Spending quiet time praying to God and meditating on the blessings he has put in our lives is so powerful I can’t imagine not doing this on a regular basis. It will change your life by changing how you look at the people and the world around you.

Google It – Yes, you can learn a lot from Google. People share many different ways they express gratitude and it is always changing.

Send notes, cards and private messages – there is still no substitute for mailing a card to someone who you care about, especially when you can share why they are important to you and that you are grateful for them in some specific way. Again, sincerity is key.

Wake up tomorrow with only what you are grateful for

Practicing gratefulness can make a huge difference in your life. An author, Amy Morin, wrote an article in Inc. on the subject and said that if you are interested in self-improvement, mental, spiritual, and physical, and you have only 15 minutes per day, practicing gratefulness is the best thing you can do.

And it gets easier after you do it for a while. You begin to become attuned to the blessings around you and how they affect you. Living with an attitude of gratitude will certainly change your life so give it a try and begin using one of the methods above or one of your own. Let me know how it works out for you.

List Circle Gratitude

Being Thankful

The Source Of Happiness - Zig

I hope you are like myself and have so very much to be thankful for. As we work together to learn how to live healthier and be happier I am looking forward to many more years to enjoy my friends and family.

If your health is not the best it is even more important to stay focused on making better choices every day to improve the way you feel. Eating healthy and getting the right amount of exercise as well as the right amount of sleep will go a long way towards looking and feeling better.

And one of the best ways to improve your mental and emotional health and happiness is to have an attitude of gratitude. The more we recognize our blessings, even the little things we take for granted every day, the happier we will be. Just noticing the sunrise in the morning or the beauty of the mountains will make a difference in your day. The happier we are the more we can be a blessing to those people we come in contact with. As we are a blessing to others we will feel so much more fulfilled and worthy of God’s love.

The apostle Paul tells the Christians in Thessalonica to “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus”. It can be very difficult to be thankful when you are going through hard times or dealing with sickness and death as my family is right now. But being grateful opens our hearts to God’s healing power. He suffered and died for us. He conquered death so we can live forever with him. Nothing can take that away. If we really stop and consider the sacrifice Christ made for us on the cross how can we not feel blessed and grateful?

I hope and pray you enjoy this Thanksgiving season and take advantage of every opportunity to be a blessing to your friends and family.