We love our daily gratitude practice around here. In fact, we found it to have such an impact on our daily life, mindset, stress, relationships and more that it inspired us to start creating our own gratitude journals.
Truth is, life can be hard and it can feel really overwhelming sometimes. Expressing gratitude is not going to be a magic wand that erases all of the challenges. But, over time, practicing and cultivating an attitude of gratitude shifts how we react to and process the stressors and challenges of daily life.
Sometimes the difference between an experience creating debilitating and negative stress related health issues or creating a positive, problem-solving, can do response comes down to how we process it in our minds.
Practicing daily gratitude is one way that we can start to train our minds to respond to thoughts and experiences in a more healthy way.
So, we thought we’d share some of our favorite health benefits from expressing gratitude! But, truth is – this list could be much longer! Just check out this post with 28 health benefits! Wow!
The Benefits of Gratitude:
One of our favorite parts about starting a daily gratitude practice is that it’s easy, free and fast! You can just use any blank journal that you have to get started. Or, if you want something more guided, you can pick up a gratitude journal that will offer a bit more structure. Do what works for you.
For us, this has really helped us stay connected and more present in our day to day life – even while the world seemed to continue spinning out of control. For a lot more details on how you can start a daily gratitude practice – even if you only have 5 minutes a day – check out this new post!
If you are feeling the need for a mindset shift as well, I think you will love the following health benefits that a simple gratitude practice can give you.
1. GRATITUDE CAN MAKE US HAPPIER.
Happiness is not a destination, it’s not something you can achieve, it is small moments in between the hard moments. It’s those minutes of pure laughter with a good friend or the perfect cup of coffee.
Practicing gratitude can increase these little moments of happiness and start to make those moments outnumber the ones where we feel overwhelmed, anxious, stressed, or whatever else.
The more we practice being grateful, the better we get at it and the happier we will be.
2. GRATITUDE CAN REDUCE STRESS.
We all have plenty of stress. Some days, that stress can feel like a big tidal wave trying to smash us to pieces. Other days, it’s a dull roar in the background. In fact, I cannot think of too many days when there was no stress at all.
Constant stress can really wreak havoc on our hormones – which in turn – can really damage our health. Practicing gratitude helps to shift our perspectives, so that what we used to perceive as very stressful will actually seem less so, giving our bodies and minds a much needed break.
The effect is similar to how we feel when we look out at a vast, seemingly endless ocean or a gorgeous vista. These settings reduce stress because they make us feel so small in comparison to the big world out there, helping us put things in perspective.
Gratitude helps us put things in perspective, too.
3. GRATITUDE CAN INCREASE GOOD ENERGY.
We love good vibes. We don’t remember where we heard this story, but it’s always stuck with us: A study was done to see if our moods and energy could impact things around us. Scientists studied the structure of water after people were asked to hold the water and focus intently on the word written on the cup. The words represented emotions, such as: hatred, love, anger, calm, etc. They studied the water before and after and there was a noticeable change in the structure of the water after the exercises. People’s emotions were able to actually change the structure of the water.
This means we have so much more impact on everything around us than we realize. Our energy flows out – and that not only influences our attention, too, but it also can change the objects and people in the path of our energy.
Think about all of the people, pets and environments that are impacted by your energy. This gives us all even more reason to do what we can to increase good energy, not only for ourselves, but for everyone we love around us, too.
4. GRATITUDE CAN IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP.
Ahhh, sleep. One of us is a longtime insomniac (me!). If I am not careful with how I spend the last couple of hours before bed and controlling my thoughts, I will lay down and my brain will spiral for hours. Literally, I will lay there for hours while my husband snores.
I am not fixing anything or helping anyone by layering there and torturing myself like that. Yet, if my anxiety spins out of control, there’s not too much I can do about it.
So, I watch my mindset. I stick with my bedtime routine. I try my best to practice gratitude when the thoughts creep in at night, so that I can lay down and rest.
In fact, in a recent book I read by Jay Shetty, called “Think Like a Monk“, he shares some specific mantras and affirmations that we can repeat at bedtime to help us sleep better and wake up with a more positive mindset.
I absolutely loved that book, by the way, and I think it is such a powerful must-read for anyone who wants to improve their mindset and live with purpose.
My own insomnia journal inspired me to create the sleep journal, “The Things That Keep Us Up At Night” designed with a variety of prompts to help me get thoughts down on paper, so I can get some sleep.
5. GRATITUDE CAN IMPROVE OUR RELATIONSHIPS.
This one is so obvious once you hear it, but how often do we really think about it? It’s as simple as thinking about what kind of people we like to spend time around: the positive, nice people, right? I don’t mean fake nice or shallow people – I mean people that are deep, intelligent, entertaining people who know what is really going on in the world, but still choose gratitude, empathy, kindness and love.
Those are good people to be around. We can all be that person for someone. We just need to choose gratitude and good energy.
And, for the people in our life that aren’t choosing gratitude and we feel like we are sinking underneath the enormous weight of their constant complaining and negative energy – Jay Shetty gives us a great lesson in his book on how to move forward – limit your time around them to whatever is healthiest for you and don’t extend the negative energy they make you feel by speaking negatively about them.
6. GRATITUDE CAN INCREASE OUR EMPATHY.
I am naturally a very empathetic person, but this is not the case for everyone. For me, I find that I can feel people’s pain and emotions so acutely, it can be very difficult for me to detach my own emotions from them. Then, I carry their pain and burden with me and it makes me physically sick.
But, I still think it is important to stay connected with one another. So long as there are people who are hurting, starving, and struggling in the world, we all have work to do to help one another and improve all of our quality of life.
By being grateful, we are better able to see the needs of others and find opportunities to serve. Whether that is recognizing that all those nice clothes you don’t want to wear or don’t fit your kids would be such a gift to families who lost their home in a fire or had to move into a shelter because they lost their business.
If we wait until our lives our perfect before looking for ways to help others, that day will never come. Helping and serving others will improve our own mindset, our own sense of gratitude and our own health and happiness, too.
7. GRATITUDE CAN INCREASE OUR RESILIENCE.
Resilience is such an interesting topic. It’s our ability to spring back or adapt to trauma, stress, tragedy, health problems or any other type of negative experience in our life. Our ability to be resilient has a profound impact on our ability to move forward.
If you’ve ever felt the grief tunnel that comes with a hard and painful life experience, you know how long it can take before you start to feel like you’re leveling out emotionally again. It can sometimes feel like forever. And, while we need to honor this grief cycle and allow ourselves to properly feel it, so that we can move forward, we do need to have the ability to eventually move forward, too.
By doing what we can to express our gratitude, we can help ourselves recover and become more resilient to these life experiences. Because, fact is, they will come. Nobody’s life is perfect. I had someone tell me one time that I was “waiting for the other shoe to drop all the time”. I had that energy about me, because I had been knocked down so many times by life, so I just lived in this constant period of waiting for the next hit. She wasn’t wrong – that was my coping mechanism at the time.
Luckily, as I’ve gotten older, I have trained my mind to be better about appreciating the happy, quiet, calm moments in between the storms and when I get anxious for the next storm, I think to myself, “When it comes, you’ll know what to do.” Then, I try to just rest and relax in the lulls.
There is nothing we can do to stop the storms from coming. That is the human experience. What we can do is give ourselves the tools to be at our healthiest despite the storms.
8. GRATITUDE CAN HELP US AT WORK:
If you’re in management, gratitude will make you a better leader and the type of person others work harder for. If you’re on a team, being a grateful person will make you a better team player and cause others to want to work with you more. Expressing gratitude can help you stand out in the crowd, too, making you a top choice for promotions and new opportunities.
The reasons are simple – people want to spend more time with positive people or someone who sees the best in everyone and everything around them. Being grateful doesn’t mean you aren’t able to do your job effectively or acknowledge areas where improvement is needed, but it does mean you will face challenges with a positive attitude and be a more pleasant person to work with.
Did you know that there were so many ways that practicing gratitude could improve your life?
If you want to learn more, check out our post with over 50 powerful gratitude quotes that will change you and how you think about things.
Looking to practice more gratitude? We’d love for you to check out our line of gratitude journals! They are sent beautifully gift-wrapped when shipped within the US! Visit us here.
Thanks so much for reading. We are grateful for you and that you spent your time reading this post. We hope that it added value to your life.
Good vibes only!