You could be:
Less anxious and depressed?
And a lot more!
With just one technology.
Ahan, you say. That’s possible.
With just one technology, an idea-technology.
That idea-technology is this: Gratitude practice.
What? Gratitude? What’s that, what you are talking about? You say.
Well, practicing gratitude makes you happier, optimistic, healthier and much more.
Gratitude is quality and practice of being thankful, appreciative. All great religions place gratitude as a virtue. And research as well reports gratitude to be one important tools to living a life that’s healthier, happier, and beautiful.
Here we would look at 10 benefits of practicing gratitude regularly and how to keep a habit of practicing gratitude. If you get convinced by the end of benefits that you really want to do practice gratitude, then you can look at the guide of maintaining a habit of gratitude.
Before we talk benefits of gratitude, let’s pause for just a second. If you or a loved one/a beloved friend is struggling with persisting depression, anxiety or any mental disturbance, then you’ll find great help in talking directly to a psychologist.
1. You get more empathy and less aggression
According to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky, people who practice gratitude regularly are more likely to be concerned for the rights, feelings and well-being of others.
People who ranked higher in gratitude scales had less chances to be attack-full or defensive when they received negative feedback. They experienced more sensitivity and empathy (ability to understand and share the feelings of others) toward others and showed decreased desire or urge to seek revenge.
2. You get improvement in physical health
According to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences, people who exercise gratitude regularly experience fewer aches and pains, and feel healthier than other people.
Grateful people, also, are more likely to take care of their health. They are more likely to exercise often, and more likely to see doctors for regular check ups which is likely to contribute to their long life.
3. It makes you open to more relationships
According to 2014 study in Emotion, showing appreciation to others can help you make new friends. Thanking an acquaintance makes them more likely to become your friend.
So, thanking a stranger for holding the door, or sending quick thank-you note to a coworker for their help with a project can lead to new opportunities for building new, meaningful relationships.
4. Improves your psychological health
Gratitude reduces many negative emotions such as envy, resentment, frustration, regret etc.
Research of Robert A. Emmons (a leading gratitude researcher) confirms that gratitude effectively increases a person’s happiness and reduces depression.
5. Helps you sleep better
According to 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-being, writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep.
Spending just 5-15 minutes writing down things you’re grateful for can help you sleep better and longer.
6. Improves your self-esteem
According to 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, practicing gratitude increases athlete’s self-esteem (feeling of being proud of what you do, and believe in yourself) which is essential to their optimal performance.
Other studies show that gratitude also reduces comparing yourself to others. Grateful people are more likely to appreciate other people’s accomplishments than being resentful toward others who have better jobs or more money (being resentful leads to lower self esteem and overall less happiness).
7. Increases your mental strength
According to research, gratitude reduces stress as well plays a major role in overcoming a trauma. Recognizing all the resources you have both outside (home, family, support, etc.) and inside (emotional skills, creativity, imagination, etc.) even during the worst periods of life fosters resiliency.
8. Makes you more optimistic
Gratitude makes you more optimistic which in turn makes you happier, healthier, and prolongs your lifespan. You focus more on good things in life than disappointments, anxiety etc.
Since practicing gratitude means focusing on the good things in life, perceiving our current life as good makes us believe that our future is also good.
9. Makes you less materialistic
According to research in the Journal of Positive Psychology (2018), the secret to raising a child who’s not materialistic is to instill the habit of gratitude in them as early as possible. However, this is also true for adults.
This can be done via keeping a gratitude journal or being helpful and kind to others in small or big ways. Whole family can create rituals of noticing blessings and participating in gratitude. Young people practicing are also likely to be less envious of others.
10. Helps you reduce risk of depression
According to a study by the University of Rome, practicing regularly gratitude can lead to fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Gratitude reminds us that not everything is bad, and there are good things and blessings we can choose to focus.
Gratitude causes ‘ripple effect’ in which practising gratitude your blessings can make you feel more motivated, and that motivation helps you keep going for that dream job, improving relationships and hitting the gym.
If you get convinced how important gratitude is, let’s learn how to do it on regular to create happier, healthier, and beautiful life.
How to practice gratitude – keep a gratitude journal
It’s one of the best ways to , there are others, do what works for you. We’ll see how to keep a gratitude journal here.
- Buy any notebook. Create a list of numbers e.g. from 1-100 in it anywhere. This is your gratitude journal.
- Plan to write in a journal, every night before sleep or just getting after getting up. Set a reminder on your phone or schedule in calendar. (keep the journal next to your pillow).
- You can use Pomodoro apps like Forest, Goodtime etc. to set the timer and track it while you do gratitude.
- Keep the journal right to bed or keep it with you when you go to work or school so you can experience the feeling of appreciation anytime in the day whenever you feel down.
- The things you’re grateful can be either big (the dream job you got) or simple (that smile in the morning from your partner, or the access to clean water you have).
- Keep the journaling time flexible – whatever suits you.
- Keep a habit tracker (use Bullet Journal habit tracker to track within the Gratitude Journal) or apps like HabitBull, Loop, or Habitify to keep track of daily journaling to form a solid habit as well as keeping you accountable.
Now having learned benefits of gratitude and method to practice it, you are jam-packed to improve the quality of your life!
If practicing gratitude doesn’t help improve the quality of your life, you’ve difficulty in focusing, you might be anxious, or still depressed, it’s best to talk to a psychologist in such cases.
Smart small. Smart today.
It 5 mins is hard, do just 1-2 mins.
You don’t have to buy a new notebook. Get that notebook that’s resting on your table for ages.
Which habit tracker would you start with, how many minutes you would practice gratitude?