Gratitude: A Guide to Recognizing & Appreciating the Goodness in Life
Psychological studies have repeatedly shown just how powerful gratitude is, but for many people, practicing gratitude isn’t a daily habit. Perhaps it should be, though, and here’s why: According to science, recognizing and appreciating the good things in life makes you stronger, happier and healthier.
In fact, there are a whole host of reasons you should consider making a habit of practicing gratitude, and here are just a few.
It enhances mental health
Expressing gratitude helps alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. When you focus on the positive aspects of life, it’s harder for negative thoughts and emotions to dominate your mind.
It strengthens relationships
Your loved ones and colleagues notice and appreciate when you acknowledge and value them. As a result, expressing gratitude for the people you care about can strengthen your personal relationships and build trust and bonds among friends, family and community members.
It boosts resilience
Grateful individuals are often more resilient in the face of adversity than their less-appreciative peers. Exercising gratitude can help you cope with challenging situations and even identify silver linings during otherwise tough times.
Incorporating Gratitude into Your Life
Many people find purpose and meaning in keeping a gratitude journal, or an ongoing log of the things you value and appreciate the most. While keeping a gratitude journal can promote better sleep and a more positive mood, it can also make you more optimistic about the future. That said, there are other easy ways to inject gratitude into your day-to-day life, too.
Practice quiet gratitude
You don’t need anything beyond awareness to practice quiet gratitude. Maybe you devote a few moments to reflecting on the good things in life while showering each morning or walking your dog. Beyond that, taking a few seconds to acknowledge life’s little pleasures, such as a favorite food or delectable smell, can also boost your overall sense of well-being.
Practice active gratitude
If you don’t feel like keeping your gratitude to yourself, let the people in your life know you appreciate them by sending a thank-you note, giving a heartfelt compliment or simply issuing a deserved “thank you” face-to-face.
Practice cooperative gratitude
If you want to take things even further, consider lending a hand or helping spread the word about a worthy cause you care about. Volunteer at a local community organization if time allows. Otherwise, even sharing a few kind words about a cause or nonprofit on social media can have far-reaching effects, both for the organization and your own sense of personal satisfaction.
Expressing gratitude can have a notable and positive impact on your life year-round, so why not start this holiday season? Whether giving thanks around a family table or telling the people in your life what they mean to you, make expressing gratitude a habit, and reap the many rewards that come with a grateful heart.