Gratitude is defined as a feeling of thanks or appreciation. I know you have heard the rumors that thankfulness increases happiness and improves overall health. Well, it appears the rumors are true! Research says that gratitude absolutely improves your health.
Can Anyone Be Grateful?
Gratitude is not reserved for those with great wealth, power, or even intellect. The beautiful thing about gratitude is that it can be practiced by anyone and everyone. Find something small in your daily life, and feel the blessing that the person, thing, or circumstance provides you. Gratitude is a feeling of appreciation for the things in your life that supports you in some way; small things, great things, silly things that make you laugh, and things that make you feel a sense of comfort when you need it.
What are the Perks?
The number one positive effect as a direct result of the practice of gratitude is the diminishing effects on depression. The National Institute of Health reports that symptoms of depression can be relieved by gratitude. Another study suggests that practicing gratitude can strengthen your memory. Maybe it is nature’s funny way of saying, “The more you’re grateful, the more I’ll let you remember.”
Bottom line, the advantages of gratitude practice are decreased symptoms of depression, a more joyful outlook on the future, lower blood pressure, heart-disease prevention, stronger immune system, feeling less isolated, getting better sleep, and improved relationships across the board. That is pretty impressive just for giving a little thanks now and then.
How Do I Do It?
One suggestion is to keep a gratitude journal. Taking time out at the beginning or perhaps at the end of your day to reflect on the things or people that make you smile or feel at peace can make the rest of the day go better.
Self-Talk- yes, talk positively to yourself. You are with you 24 hours a day, who better to give you a pep talk? You would be happy to know that a recent study concluded that people who talk to themselves were less stressed. We’re used to mumbling negative thoughts or comments; let’s try to remain aware of our thoughts. If you notice the negative, try to nip it and change it.
Finally, nature oftentimes reminds us to be grateful. Step outside, look up, and take a deep breath, appreciated that you can do that. If possible, walk on the grass, take in the majesty of the might oak, or simply sit by the ocean or the lake. An appreciation for beauty in its natural form can bring the most profound sense of gratitude.