Gratitude is a powerful tool. Imagine if you could find a way to shift your perspective, find more joy, and change the lives of those around you in a matter of minutes. This tool of gratitude gives us so many amazing reasons to keep discovering things in our lives that we can be grateful for and helps us find simple contentment and joy.
We are sharing 6 beautiful benefits that you will experience from a gratitude practice!
- A more complete spectrum of emotions
- Our emotions are an essential ingredient of gratitude. Increased compassion, empathy, and humility are all fostered out of a gratitude practice. All of these emotions are far more complex than our basic emotions. We have six basic human emotions: happiness, sadness, fear, disgust, anger, and surprise. Different research suggests different things, and some studies say we actually only have four basic human emotions. While these may be our most basic emotions, we have 27 human emotions. With a gratitude practice, we are able to move beyond our basic, daily human emotions and access a deeper side of our emotions.
- Decreased stress and anxiety
- A research study found that cortisol - the hormone your body creates when it perceives stress - is 23% lower in people that practice gratitude. With a gratitude practice, we experience increased joy and happiness, which means that we will have less time to feel sadness and stress.
- Manage pain and negative experiences with resilience
- Life is always going to deal us tough cards; we would never deny that truth. Gratitude helps us face those times with resilience, because it allows us to find a silver lining in all of, or at least endure the hard times knowing that life can be better. Gratitude also is incredibly powerful as a grounding tool. It keeps us grounded in the present moment, which means we will not feel as overwhelmed in difficult situations.
- Cultivate stronger relationships
- Our relationships are the most precious gift we have in life. Gratitude creates a cycle of generosity and selflessness, which is passed between two people over and over as the relationship strengthens and grows. Gratitude also helps others perceive us as more compassionate and kind, which in turn makes them want to be close to us.
- Highlight the positive things, experiences and moments we would normally overlook
- The beauty of a gratitude practice is that it grounds us in the present. It helps us slow down and take inventory of all the goodness around us in both big and small ways. With gratitude, we are able to closely look at the smaller moments of life, like morning coffee with a loved one, playing your favorite song on the way to work, or enjoying the smell of rain. Some of our most simple moments often hold a lot of joy, because we are able to present and not focus on the negatives of life. Gratitude allows us to clearly see these things.
- Programs us to rethink our reactions to experiences to be more positive
- If you experience a challenge, when you use gratitude as a tool, you can see it is only temporary. That challenge will not swallow you whole. Gratitude is truly powerful in that it helps us see life through rose colored glasses. It helps us see that in a hardship, we will still find reasons to be grateful and can count those things as small personal wins.
Remember there is never any shame if you are unable to find gratitude in your life at times. Life will always hand you emotions that may be labeled as “negative” but this does not mean you are failing. All emotions are valid, just like gratitude. Always give yourself grace to experience everything you feel, and continue to strive for gratitude when you can. Gratitude is not a cure-all, and nor is it ignoring true hardships that you may face. A gratitude practice is a tool, and if you practice enough, you will be able to use it in both the good times and the bad.
We want to always encourage you in your gratitude practice, but remind you that it is called a practice for a reason. It is an ongoing effort that with discipline, will enhance your life in beautiful ways. A gratitude practice will yield so many benefits, but it is truly a journey, and you should feel great pride in your commitment to the journey of gratitude.