Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful; the readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. A thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. It can work for everyone who understands its power.
With gratitude, people are able to acknowledge the goodness in their lives and as a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals – whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.
On a basic level, gratitude is just being satisfied and appreciative of what you have. It’s easy to say you’re grateful and remind yourself to be grateful when everything in your life is going well. Embracing gratitude as a feeling, however, is a different story. That’s what makes it a powerful tool, not just a nice habit. And the good news is, it’s an easy enough tool for anyone to use.
It can lighten your mood and improve your outlook on life in general. Consciously expressing appreciation on a daily basis can help you focus on the positive influences in your life, and deflect the negative feelings that come your way.
Since the second we get out of bed in the morning, we may turn on the radio or TV and open our cellphones and we are most certainly being bombarded with advertisements which include in different ways a price tag. On the way to work or school we may encounter dozens of billboards with a price tag. In shopping malls, theaters, parks and many other places we see that everything has a price tag.
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If we take the time to observe, we will see that everything around us has a price tag. You can even consider quotes which state that in order to be successful you have to pay the price. Our minds are already conditioned to ask the simple question of “How much?”
We know that to an extent, price determines the value of things, but those familiar with business and retail know that the cost of an item is always well below the selling price. This in itself makes us consider that to a certain extent everything is overpriced.
Since early on in life we are conditioned to buy, acquire and satisfy the need to purchase what appear to be essentials. It, however, becomes alarming if we take some time to truly consider how 80% of what we ultimately buy deteriorates and ends up losing its original value and usefulness.
We sometimes miss the point that the most important things in life come without a price tag. Many simple things we can truly be grateful for such as waking up every morning, every breath we are able to take, having food on the table, having a roof over our heads, the smile of a child, watching the sunset, our health, a partner or pet are all price-tag free reasons we can truly be grateful for.
Being truly grateful reveals all those priceless things in our lives. Those things that can bring us a sense of fulfillment without the need of appearances or comparing ourselves to others. All it takes is gratitude and stop looking at the things which carry a price tag to be able to see the truly priceless things already in our lives. Taking all these facts into consideration is one of the main reasons why gratitude is an essential part of our daily lives.
With the intention of creating a comprehensive list, we have grouped the benefits of Gratitude and Appreciation into several categories for your convenience.
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GRATITUDE IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE
1. Gratitude makes us more humble and appreciative
By taking a closer look at all the components within our life, we will be able to see all the things we need to appreciate. Starting with the most basic of things – We are breathing! This gives us a new opportunity in life. Every time we look we are bound to find things we need to be grateful for such as food, shelter, family, friends and many more.
2. Gratitude makes us kinder and more giving
When we are appreciative of life, we are bound to be kinder to those around us. We are also more likely to give to others when we are grateful for what we currently have. Gratitude is able to adjust our perspective in life. We have all had a point in our lives in which we see someone else’s tougher situation and compare it to our life in the blink of an eye. We then, immediately get a sense of gratitude within.
3. Gratitude increases our creativity
When we live with an appreciative outlook in life we are more open to creative inspiration. Since gratitude also provides a sense of well-being, it is directly linked with enhancing creative thoughts at a higher rate.
4. Gratitude enables you to be more optimistic
5. Gratitude helps you be less materialistic
When you are able to be appreciative of the things that truly matter, you will start to notice how your attachment to material things goes to the backseat. Your material things don’t become less important, but the perspective gained through appreciation will let you know how to give the proper value to everything in your life. In this scale, the things with higher value will become the things which are difficult or even impossible to replace. This will in-turn make material things not as important when compared to the things which are truly valuable to you.
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6. Gratitude makes us less self-centered and more grounded
With a simple gratitude practice, even the most self-centered individuals will care more about others. The very nature of gratitude is to shift your focus outside of yourself – so don’t be surprised if you have a sudden urge to help others. As we progress in the art of appreciation, we lose the need to have the world revolve around us since we are now able to slowly take in the beauty of the things life has placed around us. Gratitude will also enable you to be more grounded by having a deeper understanding of what we need to be grateful for and how we can be able to achieve more.
7. Gratitude improves Your self-esteem
Self-esteem is considered an essential component to optimal performance inside our daily lives. Studies have shown that gratitude and appreciation are able to significantly reduce social comparisons. Rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs—a major factor in reduced self-esteem—grateful individuals are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments and use them as motivators towards their own path to success.
GRATITUDE IN YOUR HEALTH AND WELLNESS
1. Gratitude improves Your physical health
Research suggests that grateful people may have better sleep, healthier hearts, and fewer aches and pains. Gratitude can make people happier, improve their relationships, and potentially even counteract depression and suicidal thoughts. With a more positive outlook and raised energy levels, you’ll be more likely to exercise. Plus, if your health is one of the things you’re grateful for then you’re even more likely to exercise to maintain it.
2. Gratitude increases Your Mental Strength
Expressing your appreciation can really improve your overall sense of well-being: studies show that grateful people are more agreeable, more open and more capable of working on their self-development with many less self imposed obstacles.
3. Grateful people sleep better
When you cultivate gratitude throughout the day, you’re more likely to have positive thoughts as you begin drifting off to sleep. Rather than ruminating over the friend who forgot to call, you’re thinking of the coworker who stayed late to help you. Instead of obsessing over bills, you’re thinking of new creative ways to generate more income.
4. Gratitude will directly impact your energy levels
Naturally, when you display more positivity, feel healthier, and are more optimistic you tend to be more energetic as well.
GRATITUDE IN YOUR EMOTIONAL HEALTH
1. Gratitude makes us happier
Happiness is a state of mind which we can create with positive emotions, Gratitude is one of them and it is very powerful. According to specific research, up to 40% of the differences in happiness among people can be attributed to intentional behaviors and attitudes such as gratitude. Grateful people are rated as happier, and they tend to feel a greater sense of purpose in life.
People who keep gratitude journals tend to feel better about life as a whole. Performing a visit to someone we are grateful towards can raise our happiness levels for up to a month later. By making us happier, gratitude can unlock all the benefits of more happiness: better health, longevity, creativity, performance, income, relationships, and more.
2. Gratitude enhances Your empathy
Grateful people are more likely to behave in a prosocial manner, even when others behave less kind, according to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky. Study participants who ranked higher on gratitude scales, were less likely to retaliate against others, even when given negative feedback. They experienced more sensitivity and empathy toward other people and a decreased desire to seek revenge.
3. Gratitude makes our memories happier
Gratitude has the ability to influence our perception of the future as well as the past. Our memories can change over time. Gratitude helps us remember past events more kindly, and makes us more likely to recall positive memories or instances of the past before we can recall the negatives.
4. Gratitude reduces feelings of envy
Appreciation fills us with a sense of wellness and drastically reduces the need for us to compare to others. When we are truly satisfied with who we are or what we have, there is no need to initiate comparisons with others.
5. Gratitude increases our resilience
6. Gratitude reduces stress and increases relaxation
The mindset of gratitude and appreciation can reduce stress levels by helping you maintain perspective. This perspective brings the awareness that any situation we face has to have a solution. It then becomes our task to look for ways to solve or improve each given situation. Even if you’re not stressed right now, practicing gratitude is worth it in the long haul.
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After all, stress happens to all of us! If you can cultivate this habit now, think how much more powerful that will be when the stressors do happen. Positive emotions are one of the strongest natural relaxants known to mankind. So it’s no surprise that gratitude can put us in a more relaxed state of mind.
7. Gratitude strengthens our overall emotions
Gratitude reduces feelings of envy, makes our memories happier, lets us experience good feelings and helps us bounce back from stress.
GRATITUDE IN YOUR CAREER AND SOCIAL LIFE
1. Gratitude opens the door to more relationships
People can use gratitude to form new social relations or to build upon and make current ones better. Acts of gratitude can be used to apologize, make amends or help solve other problems people may face.
So whether you thank a stranger for holding the door or you send a quick thank-you note to that co-worker who helped you with a project, acknowledging other people’s contributions can lead to new opportunities. People who express their gratitude also tend to be more willing to forgive others in a social context.
2. Gratitude improves your decision making
This refers to a selection of a belief or a course of action among several alternative possibilities. Gratitude lets you choose the correct alternative by revealing what truly matters.
3. Gratitude increases your productivity
A measure that is expressed as a ratio of output per unit of input. A crucial factor in your life, performance and productivity. In other words; it’s what you do with what was given to you. Gratitude will let you know your resources.
4. Gratitude increases your goal achievement Potential
5. Gratitude makes you a more effective worker
You will have a good attitude towards your work and responsibilities. People with a good attitude have a higher tendency to take initiative whenever they can. They willingly help a colleague in need, they pick up the slack when someone is off sick, and they make sure that the work is done to the highest standards. Good enough is never quite good enough for them as they are prone to strive for excellence.
6. Gratitude makes you more respectful towards others
It will motivate you to be polite, behaving in a way that is socially correct and you will show a deeper understanding and care for other peoples’ feelings.
5 WAYS TO PRACTICE GRATITUDE
Think of a person who has helped you in life. It may be a teacher, friend, parent, or mentor. Spend a few minutes reflecting on the ways they have helped you and the benefits you have gained as a result. Then, write them a heartfelt card, call, or even visit them to tell them how their help has improved your life. If you are no longer in contact, write the card anyway and then keep it to remind you to feel grateful.
Take a walk in nature or in your garden. As you do so, think about all the ways that nature helps us sustain life and feel happier and more comfortable. Focus on feeling grateful for the fresh air and water, the natural beauty of a flower, the peace that the ocean, lakes, or mountains give you, or something simpler like the shade of a tree.
Think of somebody in your life who helps you on a daily or weekly basis: a partner, parent, best friend, beloved pet, boss, teacher, cleaner, or babysitter. Spend a week observing and focusing on all the different ways in which they make your life happier or more comfortable. Make a plan to do something special for them to show your appreciation.
As you sit down to dinner at night, think about the people who helped this food get on your table. This may include the farmer who grew the food, the workers who picked the crops, the drivers who transported it, the person who earned money to pay for the food, and so on.
Think about how you can live a life that conveys gratitude to the planet for all that we have. Don’t overuse water or electricity, recycle, buy sustainable products, de-clutter and donate to charity, volunteer to help the needy, work in an animal shelter, or clean up a natural area. Get involved in your community. Living responsibly and doing acts of service should help you feel good about your life and more aware of your connection to other living things.
THE TRUE POWER OF A GRATITUDE JOURNAL!
Starting and maintaining a journal can be difficult at first because it starts as just another thing to remember to do, but after a while of keeping a gratitude journal, you will understand it’s worth it! Keep doing it every night until it becomes a habit. Luckily, writing in your gratitude journal won’t feel like a chore because it’s a peaceful time to just sit and write about all the things that you are thankful for.
Take the time once a day to write down three to five things you’re grateful for. They can be simple things, or big things — the key is that they’re different every day. Think: What was surprisingly fun, exciting, or laugh-out-loud funny? What made you feel good or proud or connected to someone else?
You need to keep a grateful and appreciative outlook even during trying times. You will need to work hard on finding things inside these times that you can be grateful for. The words will flow from you and 15 minutes just might turn into 30. Gratitude works its magic by serving as an antidote to negative emotions. It’s like white blood cells for the soul, protecting us from cynicism, entitlement, anger, and resignation, and so much more!
Here are some simple, achievable ways on How To Keep an Effective Gratitude Journal:
- Plan to write in your gratitude journal every night for 15 minutes before bed. Set an alarm reminder on your phone or schedule it in your calendar. We recommend writing at night so that you can include things you are grateful for from that same day.
- Keep your gratitude journal by your nightstand so you will see it before going to sleep and remember to jot down what you are thankful for. Your journal may even become a symbol of gratitude so that when you just look at it, you will feel a sense of appreciation.
- Your gratitude journal doesn’t have to be deep. What you are thankful for can be as simple as “family” or “the new book or movie I recently enjoyed” or “this morning’s breakfast.” What you are grateful for will differ from everyone else and should be different from day to day.
- The timing of when you want to write is up to you. While we suggest writing in your gratitude journal every night, sometimes it becomes every other night. That’s okay. Journal when it feels right for you — the benefits really are worth it.
HOW TO LIVE FOR GROWTH?
It’s very easy to forget some of the things we have to be grateful for, mainly because of our busy daily lives. We have a tendency to take things such as our health for granted, and we only start realizing it’s importance when we don’t feel well. The decision to be grateful or not to be grateful for what we have, is entirely up to us. Happiness is a choice. We are in charge of our lives and we can decide to live as we find appropriate. If we don’t make the decision to be grateful, it would be as if we have actually made the opposite decision to not be grateful.
“When you ask people what are you grateful for, the prototypical answer is: my parents, my family, my friends, my loved ones. What they’re missing are all these invisibles.”
Such “invisibles” as your education, freedom of speech, access to technology, having basic needs met such as food, water, shelter, and clothing, and others.
If you have a goal to improve something in your life, starting with gratitude can be extremely effective. It can be noticed through practice, that if you acknowledge being grateful for your spouse first thing in the morning, you are more likely to make them tea, coffee or get a chore done that they then won’t have to do.
If you acknowledge your parents, family, or friends you will be more likely to reach out to them or to schedule an opportunity to meet. If you acknowledge being grateful for your job you’ll be more likely to leave a few minutes early to be adequately prepared. If you acknowledge being grateful for your health you are more likely to make a healthy lunch than to forget and end up with fast food.
This mindset can then initiate the triggering of success. You start by acknowledging your gratitude and in doing so are more likely to do things that will improve your standing within those particular circumstances. Then those positive behaviors will be rewarded, leaving us with even more to be grateful for. Gratitude and appreciation will force you to live in the know. You will be presently evaluating your life and the wonderful things around you. Appreciation and gratitude will provide you with countless new opportunities to Challenge Yourself To Be Better… To Do More… To Live For Growth.
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We would love to hear what are some of your gratitude practices. What are some other ways you have been able to increase your appreciation in your daily life? How has gratitude and appreciation impacted your life? Make sure to leave us a comment!