"We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude.”
-Thomas S. Monson
Over the years, gratitude has been linked to various indicators of living a healthier and happier life. Through scientific studies conducted by psychologists such as Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough, findings suggest people who consciously focus on gratitude experience greater emotional well-being and physical health compared to those who don’t. Discover how living a life through gratitude can be an immensely powerful force that we can use to expand our happiness and even improve our health.
What is Gratitude?
Gratitude is what brings us happiness through being grateful. Research by Emmons and McCullough has indicated that practicing gratitude has been one of the most dependable methods for increasing happiness and life satisfaction.
Decades of studies on gratitude and our well-beings have led to a positive correlation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC) well-being includes the feeling of positive emotions and moods, lack of negative emotions, satisfaction in life, in addition to a genuine good feeling. The positive health benefits associated with a positive well-being/gratitude include:
Reduced anxiety and depression
Gratitude is a way for individuals to appreciate all that they have instead of constantly looking for something new to make them happier. By refocusing on all the good things we have instead of what we lack, our mental state grows stronger when utilizing the practice. Ways to advance our gratitude include: Keep a Gratitude Journal. A gratitude journal will allow you to write and remember moments in your life, big or small, in which you are grateful for. By asking yourself questions such as ‘who or what inspired me today?” or ‘what brought me happiness today?” Write a Thank You Letter. Make a list of a minimum of five people who have had a substantial impact on you. Pick one and write a thank you letter expressing your gratitude for all the gifts you’ve received from that person. Once done with your letter, deliver it in person. Frequently, the recipient of the letter has no idea of the impact he or she has had on you and will be deeply touched by the expression of such authentic gratitude. Take a Gratitude Walk. This is a useful practice when you’re filled with stress and worry or feeling down. Set aside 20 minutes (or longer if possible) and walk in your neighborhood, around your office, through a park, or somewhere in nature. While walking, consider the numerous things you are grateful for such as, nurturing relationships, material comforts, your mind, your body, and your spirit. Breathe, pause, and be grateful for all things that make your life possible. Pay Attention to Your Senses. Include everything you’re seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, and maybe even tasting and see how many things you can find to feel grateful for. This is an amazing way to shift your mood and open to the flow of abundance that always surrounds you. Recognize the Positives Around You. Throughout your day focus on all the big or small positives happening around you. At the end of your day, count three good things that occurred throughout your day. The rewards gratitude brings are not only accessible to those with a naturally grateful personality. Rather, feeling grateful is something we develop with a lot of practices, and experience the rewards along the way. Take time out of your busy schedule today to think about all of the things in your life that you are grateful for, big or small. By taking time for yourself, you are already one step closer to living a life full of gratitude.