by Linda-Ann Stewart
Research shows that nurturing a sense of gratefulness can:
1. Improve resiliency. It gives you greater internal resources to deal with the challenges that come up and allows you to bounce back faster. You’re better able to cope, more creative and have less stress overall.
2. Lift depression. People who are grateful experience less depression. By focusing on positive things in your life, you begin to change your mood. The pleasure circuits in the mind are engaged, which makes you feel better.
3. Make greater progress on goals. Those who regularly found things to be grateful for made better progress on goals, such as exercising more or getting better grades.
4. Have better relationships and more friends. Because you’re more at ease with yourself, people are more comfortable and open with you. You have a greater capacity for compassion, and tend to be more generous. This is a characteristic that attracts people to you.
5. Have improved job performance. Studies show students who practiced appreciation are more enthusiastic, alert, determined and improved their grade point average. That translates into having more resources to devote to work and greater success.
6. Experience better health. People who practice gratefulness have stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, reduced heart disease and exercise more. They also live an average of seven years longer than those who don’t express thankfulness.
7. Be more optimistic. Grateful people are 25% happier than those who don’t feel this positive emotion. This helps you to feel happier and more positive despite what upsetting circumstances you’re experiencing.
These benefits increased when people kept a gratitude journal. Improve your outlook on life by writing down three things you’re grateful for each day. This simple practice will break the habit of looking for the negative in your life, and replace it will intentionally seeking the positive. And don’t think they have to be big things, like getting a raise or the day going smoothly. They can be small items, like seeing a beautiful sunset or connecting with a friend.
Research indicates that expressing gratitude using this journal writing exercise can improve your attitude within three weeks, and the results remain for at least six months. It trains the subconscious mind to seek out positive outcomes. When you seek something positive, you tend to find it. And this then creates new patterns in the mind to be more optimistic. It gently trains you to be more positive.
Plato said, “A grateful mind is a great mind that eventually attracts to it great things.” By showing appreciation for what you have in your life, it instructs the subconscious to find more to be thankful for. When you find yourself wanting to complain, stop and remind yourself to look for some blessing around you. It will help to shift your outlook to be more upbeat and you’ll feel more empowered.
Whenever something challenging comes up in my life, I deliberately look for something to be grateful for. As I cultivate this habit, I find that I’m happier and more optimistic. My mind begins to seek things to appreciate. And the good I focus upon increases. So everyday, I remember to be thankful for all the good that’s in my life.
Copyright 2011 Linda Ann Stewart
All Rights Reserved