We all go through moments in life when we feel that life isn’t fair and we choose to complain about what we have, or what we don’t have, what we are going through etc. But if we take care to look around, we can soon realise that we have more things to be grateful than to complain.
Gratitude is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness”.
Gratitude not only enhances our happiness, but also strengthens our mental and physical health in many ways. Research shows that gratitude strengthens the immune system, which as we know helps the body to defend itself from sickness and to recover faster from illness; it also releases natural endorphins into the bloodstream and helps us cope better with stress and pain. An act of gratitude relaxes our heart and improves our sleep, can make us feel good, and blocks negative emotions so we are less likely to get angry or worried. It beats depression, which raises our levels of cortisol – a hormone that helps manage stress. Gratitude has the ability to affect our brain at a biological levels, producing serotonin and endorphins, which is exactly what antidepressants do. The difference is that gratitude is 100% natural and free!
With all these benefits, we can surely refer to gratitude as a Super Power!
If we are in a constant state of gratitude, our brains will start developing positive and automatic patterns of gratefulness. The more we practice, the more our brain will start looking for things to be grateful for, and every time we will find ourselves complaining less and less.
Here’s a tip to help you on your way…one way to practice gratitude is to start a journal and write 5-7 different things and people we are grateful for, or to simply mention these before going to bed (yes, say them out loud “I am grateful for…”). You’ll be surprised how natural gratefulness becomes.
We all have the ability to be grateful for things in our lives. Instead of complaining about things we should or shouldn’t have, taking a few minutes a day to say a simple “thank you” will not only make us happier but will bring tangible benefits in our lives. After all, it has been said at “gratitude is the best attitude”.
What are you grateful for today?