It has been shown time and again that the benefits of gratitude are many, and run deep for all of us. It’s a really powerful force that directly fights against negativity. Gratitude improves your attitude to be sure.
When you focus daily on finding things to be grateful for, and keep it up, not finding something immediately doesn’t mean it’s useless to look. It’s not the finding of gratitude that matters the most, it’s remembering to look for it in the first place. Read on and discover seven of the numerous benefits of gratitude in your life.
Gratitude is a powerful antidote to a negative attitude. Gratitude doesn’t depend on your life being either good or bad. You could’ve just lost a job; worrying about how you’re going to pay your next mortgage, and still feel grateful for a beautiful sunset. You can, on the other hand, be fabulously wealthy and still be annoyed by the sound of your partner chewing food.
Gratitude reduces anxiety. Anxiety and worry arise out of the chance that something bad might happen. Since the brain only focuses on just so many things at one time, when you’re grateful for the things that might happen in future, you replace potentially negative feelings. Thinking of things to be grateful for, forces you to focus on the positive aspects of your life.
Gratitude improves attitude. Gratitude, kindness, and compassion towards others activates positive social circuits, and when you feel these emotions towards people you’re more likely to assume that other people are feeling the same about you. So show your gratitude to and for those around you.
Gratitude reduces envy. It doesn’t matter what other people have or don’t have. Gratitude increases how much you value what you already have, thus reducing envy.
Gratitude and pride don’t mix well. Pride, guilt and shame are focused, morally evaluative emotions. While feeling proud of yourself is a cousin of gratitude, guilt and shame are on the other side of that coin, with pride being the strongest. That’s why we so easily heap guilt and shame on ourselves rather than focusing on the simple truth that unlike gratitude, which is good for us, they’re not beneficial to our long-term well-being.
Gratitude can be remembering positive events. Remembering good things is a form of gratitude. Being grateful for things that have already happend directly increases serotonin levels, so you feel better, and indirectly, distracting you from the negative events, which combats negatively…so you feel better.
Gratitude combats pessimism. Optimism, the opposite of pessimism, is another form of gratitude. It’s the same as being greatful for the possibility of things to come. You don’t even have to belive that good things will happen, only that they might happen…or that you will be OK regardless. Optimism in this case, is being grateful for your resilience…your abiliy to cope and prevail.
Try this if you want to feel the benifits fo gratitude for yourself…
Think of someone who’s been especially kind to you… someone whom you’ve never properly thanked. Write a letter thanking this person… being specific about what they did to improve your life. Then meet them over coffee or lunch, delivering the letter in person. Don’t let on what the meeting is about; make it a surprise. This form of gratitude can have a long lasting effect… After writing and delivering a thank you letter, people have increased levels of happiness even two months later.
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Frank Hopkins is a certified Professional Coach (CPC) and certified by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). He is a certified Master Practitioner (ELI-MP) of the iPEC proprietary assessment tool, the Energy Leadership Index and offers seminars on Energy Leadership. He maintains memberships in the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and the Institute of Coaching (ICPA).