With the holidays in full swing, it’s a great time to remind ourselves to count our blessings. There is always something you can be grateful for. Giving thanks helps us to appreciate the good things flowing to us. Not only is it a good habit to show gratitude but it can also calm down the nervous system and make us healthier.
Appreciation has proven to make us feel happier. A study by Emmons showed that people who wrote down one thing for which they were grateful for every day for three weeks reported being 25% happier for a full six months after following this practice. They also reported feeling an ever increasing sense of vitality and increased energy levels. Who needs coffee when we can just be grateful?!
Gratitude will also improve our relationships. Making an effort to mention something you appreciate in your partner each day (or at least once a week) rewires our brains to think of things that are going well. When your partner feels more appreciated you are more likely to receive appreciation in return. It’s the gift that keeps giving!
Do you want to be more resilient? Practicing gratitude on purpose trains our brains to seek out the positive in situations, even bad ones. As a result, we are better at bouncing back from loss and trauma. Being grateful creates a resilience to all sorts of misfortunes. It’s crazy how life changes when you start to see all of the blessings, not just the curses. Gratitude has also been associated with improved kidney function, reduced stress-hormone and blood-pressure levels, and a stronger heart. Experts think this is because grateful people appreciate good health more so they take better care of themselves.
So how do you go about being more grateful? Write down at least one thing you are grateful for every day (or as often as you can). Keep it in a journal, or somewhere you can see it often. That way, when you are having a bad day, you can look back on all of the reasons you shouldn’t be upset. With all of the benefits that gratitude brings there’s no question, we need to practice it more often!