There are so many things in life for us to be grateful for, but there are even more people who take these blessings for granted. It's become the norm to overlook our blessings and complain about what isn't right… It seems many of us haven’t been taught the importance of gratitude and how it can transform our life.
Gratitude helps us see all the good in our lives and not only appreciate what we have but also allow us to grow. This article will discuss why gratitude is so important and how it can be instrumental in living a joyful, fulfilling life.
Many people don't realize that gratitude doesn't just have to be a word you say out loud once a week at a religious gathering, but gratitude can and really should be practiced every day. Gratitude allows us to see the bigger picture in life and appreciate all of our blessings, not just the ones we deem as important. Of course all of our lives are different and we all have different struggles, but gratitude is a universal practice that can improve the quality of all of our lives, no matter what we’re going through. There's always going to be hardships, but gratitude can help us get through them. There's gratitude for our family and friends; gratitude for the things we have; gratitude for our challenges; gratitude for everything that life throws at us.
When we practice seeing all the good in our life, guess what we start to see more of? You guessed it… the good! Our mind is powerful and what we choose to focus on is what we will see more of, so practicing gratitude will allow us to see more parts of ourselves and our lives that we can appreciate and enjoy. We can either focus on the things we’re missing, or all that we already have. Whatever we choose is what we will see more of in our life.
It’s impossible to feel angry and grateful at the same time. It’s impossible to feel sad and grateful, anxious and grateful, and the list goes on…Gratitude overpowers all other human emotions, so whenever we want to transform any feeling, gratitude allows us to do so in just a few moments.
“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” - Tony Robbins
Gratitude is a mental and emotional state that can be practiced, like meditation or exercise. Gratitude is something that can be practiced by anyone, no matter their circumstances or background. It's important to remember gratitude in everyday life because it will improve how you feel mentally and emotionally, and even physically!
“Gratitude, like faith, is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it grows, and the more power you have to use it on your behalf…To be grateful is to find blessings in everything. This is the most powerful attitude to adopt, for there are blessings in everything.” - Alan Cohen
A gratitude intervention experiment conducted by Dr. Emmons showed that gratitude can even improve physical health:
"Dr. Emmons's study, which he conducted with two colleagues, Dr. Michael E. McCullough and Dr. Jo-Ann Tsang, involved eighty-two people who wrote gratitude diaries several times a week for ten weeks in which they listed five things that had happened during the day and why they were grateful for them. The participants also wrote gratitude letters and even gratitude emails to people who had affected their lives in a positive way — friends, family members, mentors — and then actually delivered the letter or email to those individuals."
"The study's most dramatic finding was that writing about gratitude didn't just make people happier; it also increased their levels of DHEA, a hormone related to immune system function and inflammation, and may even have resulted in physical benefits. For example, the gratitude group saw its systolic blood pressure (the "upper" number) decrease by about five points on average."
The gratitude practiced throughout this experiment was mindfulness gratitude. In mindfulness gratitude, you simply focus on all of your blessings. "It's basically a form of meditation—you take a moment to reflect on gratitude, and you get all the benefits of gratitude without actually having to physically do anything."
Gratitude is something we all should practice because it's not only beneficial to us as an individual but also for our relationships with others and the world around us. Gratitude helps us focus on things that really matter in life and it helps us recognize all that we have instead of what we lack. It is one of the greatest gifts in life that we can give to ourselves and to the people around us anytime we want to.
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” - Marcus Cicero