As much as gratitude is an emotion, mood or a personality trait, it is also a skill; the more it is practised and trained, one can always have many things to be grateful for. Gratitude impacts wellbeing; emotional wellbeing is increased by positive emotions such as optimism, joy, happiness, hope and satisfaction. Physically it lowers blood pressure, improves immune system, aids enough physical exercise, quality sleep and perhaps right eating too. Socially one tends to be more appreciative, empathetic, compassionate and forgiving, thereby developing a good social circle that can prevent possible loneliness.
Grateful people are happy people! They make it a habit to appreciate different parts of their life; be it the small everyday pleasures or big breakthroughs. It may not always be easy to be thankful for all that’s going fine when some struggles too inch along in life. But finding a little thankfulness and expressing appreciation raises the happiness quotient, bringing in a sense of fulfilment and joy. Feeling blessed for family, good weather, a stranger lending a helping hand, good health and acknowledging the same can help develop an attitude of gratitude. Although life’s positives outnumber the ‘not so positive’ instances, we tend to focus on what goes wrong. Choosing to look at positives, and training one to look more at them, boosts happiness and wellbeing. There surely is so much to be grateful for!
Gratitude also increases self-esteem. When a person considers himself as blessed or benefited by another’s kindness or generosity, he begins to value himself and that can give him a high self-esteem. Along with gratitude impacting positive emotions, one can also experience negative emotions like discomfort, fear and a sense of guilt or obligation. However, these emotions can lead people towards self improvement and motivate them towards change.
Some ways to wear an attitude of gratitude and expressing it – may be on a daily, weekly or monthly schedule:
- Each day, notice the goodness around and appreciate it (the beauty in nature, an act of kindness, good weather and much more)
- Go on a mindful walk, enjoy the small pleasures in life and share gratitude with others
- List a few good things (say three, five or ten) as a gratitude exercise – A Gratitude Journal
- Show respect for others and recognise the blessing that they are in your life
- Encourage others to see the positive side of things
- Nurture your friendships and engage in random acts of kindness
- Be quick to compliment others, and tell someone how much you love and care for them.
- Smile and laugh more often
- Thank the everyday casual acquaintances who make your life easier (your help at home, drivers, shopkeepers, waiters, etc.)
- Write a note card to someone you have not seen in a long time
- Send ‘Thank You’ cards
- Be grateful even for bad experiences – they make us stronger!
Holding gratitude is a sign of good emotional health. As we count our blessings and show appreciation, we meaningfully contribute to an enriching and loving environment that we all need to thrive on in life.
AUTHOR: Portia, Lead Counsellor
Tried the LeanonMe COUNSELLING APP?
Download now, register and chat anonymously with professional counsellors from Monday thru Friday (10 am to 6 pm). THE FIRST SESSION IS FREE! Google Play | App Store