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Gratitude in Practice – The What, The How, and the Why

When we take a look at the world around us, we have so many things to be thankful for. We get to be around our families, we have a place to call home and food in our stomachs, and we may even have a job that helps support us.

But in our modern world, it is easy to forget about all of these things and simply focus on the negatives, rather than some of the positives. When we take the time to be grateful and show gratitude for what is going on around us, life can be so much better.

What is Gratitude?

According to Psychology today, gratitude is the expression of appreciation that an individual has. It is when the individual will recognize value independent of the monetary worth. You may be grateful for your good health and your family, but you can’t really put a price tag on either of those things at all. Many times, the feelings of gratitude will be spontaneous, though we can work to foster them more than before.

This is considered one of the social emotions that works to strengthen relationships. It even has some roots in our evolutionary history with the idea that we can survive when we help others, and they help us at the same time. There are certain areas of the brain that are involved when we experience and express our gratitude to others as well.

Why Should I Practice Gratitude?

According to the Greater Good Science Center, there are a lot of benefits that come with practicing gratitude on a daily basis. In fact, they published a paper in 2018 on it called “The Science of Gratitude”. Some of the main benefits of practicing gratitude on a regular basis include:

  • Increased happiness and a happier mood

  • More satisfaction in your life, no matter the stage you are in.

  • The individual is less materialistic

  • You are less likely to experience burnout along the way

  • You can have better physical health with gratitude around

  • You may sleep better than before

  • You have less fatigue, perhaps because you sleep better

  • Lower levels of cellular inflammation, which means less pain

  • Greater resiliency, even when things go wrong.

  • Gratitude can help to encourage the development of wisdom, humility, and patience.

Even groups can see some positive changes when they practice gratitude on a regular basis. For example, you may find that gratitude can help increase good social behaviors, strengthen relationships, and can make employees more effective while being satisfied with their jobs at the same time.

How Can I Practice Gratitude in My Daily Life?

The good news is that there are a lot of methods you can use to help practice gratitude in your daily life. Picking just one or two to start can make a big difference and will ensure that you are able to gain some of the benefits above in your own life as soon as possible. Some of the ways that you can practice gratitude include:

  • Give thanks at meals: This is a wonderful time for you to sit down and remember some of the things that you are thankful for. Even if you just do one meal a day, it can make a difference.

  • Keep a gratitude journal: Make it a goal to write down five to ten things that you are thankful for each day. See if you can write something different down each day for the best results.

  • Meditate: This can give you a chance to slow down and focus on the present, rather than always focusing on the negatives along the way.

  • Be kind to yourself: It is hard to be grateful for all that is going on in your life if you are hard on yourself.

  • Share gratitude cards with others: Just take out some note cards and let someone else know why you are grateful for them. You can even keep it anonymous.

No matter your background or what has happened to you in the past, practicing gratitude is a great exercise that can make you feel amazing. Take a look at some of the benefits above, along with some of the simple tasks that you can use to show gratitude and see how simple it can be for you.

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