The Benefits of Gratitude.

The Benefits of Gratitude.

Do you consciously and deliberately practice expressing gratitude? The word GRATITIDE comes from the Latin word Gratia meaning grace, graciousness or gratefulness. Gratitude is being thankful and appreciative of those things in your life which are good. These could be both tangible (such as objects, possessions i.e. things you can touch) or intangible (not able to be touched and don’t have a physical presence e.g. a feeling or perhaps a view).

Gratitude is linked with many benefits from health and wellbeing to improved relationships and even improved business and work-place benefits such as being a better team player or manager.

In a research project conducted at the University of Miami one group was asked to record the things they were grateful for during the week and the second group was asked to record irritations or things which had displeased them. after ten weeks of recording the first group reported greater levels of optimism and felt better about their lives and also had fewer visits to their doctors than those who focussed on the aggravations.

EMOTIONAL BENEFITS OF GRATITUDE

  • Feeling happier
  • Increased positive emotions
  • Increased self belief

SOCIAL BENEFITS OF GRATITUDE

  • Greater social support (both given and received)
  • Stronger friendships
  • Greater ability to handle family stress and tensions
  • Improved quality of romantic relationships

PERSONALITY BENEFITS OF GRATITUDE

  • Increased optimism
  • Reduced materialism
  • Increased social interest and involvement
  • Heightened tendency to share

CAREER BENEFITS OF GRATITUDE

  • Reduction in impatience and increase in tolerance
  • Reduction in work related stress
  • Increased levels of a sense of work being meaningful
  • Better able to be a team player
  • More empathetic management style

PHYSICAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF GRATITUDE

  • Improved sleep patterns
  • Increased desire to exercise
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduction in mood disorders

We can therefore see that practicing gratitude will have huge benefits on many life areas and will overall improve our quality of life.

Physiologically it makes sense that we feel better when we practice and express gratitude. At it’s most simple physiological level when we show, and when we receive, gratitude we are flooded with dopamine and seratonin which are two of the most important neurotransmitters associated with “feeling good”. They are our natural mood enhancers.

When the brain is studied using MRI scanning subjects who practiced gratitude daily suggested that this resulted in positive and lasting effects within the brain which could have effects leading to improved overall mental health. Research in this area is in fairly early days but the results do look very encouraging.

There are many exercises that you can do daily to increase your feeling and expression of gratitude and I’ll share a couple of them with you here.

YOUR GRATITUDE JOURNAL

Noting the things for which you are grateful is one of the easiest ways to benefit from increased levels of gratitude. Having an attractive notebook and keeping a pen close by it and then recording, daily or weekly, three to five things you are grateful for.
You want this task to be conscious and mindful for it to be most beneficial. So when you’re writing try linking the words you write to the emotions you feel and this way the benefits will be maximised.

crop woman writing down notes in diary
Journaling for gratitude



YOUR GRATITUDE BOX

This is a great way to share gratitude and positive feelings with your loved ones.
Get yourself a box, making it as attractive and inviting as you can, and place notes inside it which express your gratitude and positive thoughts eg “Thank you for doing X/Y/Z” , “What I love/like about you is….”, “I really appreciated the help you gave me when….”

You can then wrap up the box and give it as a gift or perhaps encourage a friend or partner to do the same for you and have fun opening them together.

This one would be a great thing to do with horsey friends on a yard or in a riding club.

The overall effects of practicing gratitude take some time to build so whichever way you choose to practice make sure that it’s enjoyable rather than a mundane task. By consciously and mindfully increasing your positive gratitude you are creating a sustainable benefit for your life and overall well-being. NOW IS THE BEST TIME TO START!

gift box decorated with ribbon bow for present
Make and Share a Gratitude Box




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