by Dr Reetu

As we hurry through life, dealing with our daily dramas, it is easy to become overwhelmed by our burdens, worries and stresses. One of the keys to a more joyful life is through gratitude. 

The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. If we are able to live our life from a place of grace, focusing on the good in our lives, we can live more happily and with less stress and anxiety. When we acknowledge the goodness in our lives, we start to see the goodness that lies outside ourselves. As a result, gratitude helps us connect to something larger than ourselves, whether it is to others, to  our natural environment, or to a higher power.

Healing Benefits of Gratitude

There are many studies showing the healing benefits of gratitude. Regularly expressing gratitude helps you with the following:

Improve your health. 

Studies have shown the power of gratitude to reduce stress, increase energy levels, promote heart health and boost your immune system   

Improve your relationships. 

A study of couples found that individuals who took time to express gratitude for their partner not only felt more positive toward the other person but also felt more comfortable expressing concerns about their relationship. 

Improve your psychological health. 

Focusing on the good in your life takes your attention away from more negative emotions such as envy, resentment, frustration and regret. Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D.,the worlds leading scientific researcher on gratitude has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.

Improve your self-esteem. 

Many studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons. Being resentful toward people who seemingly have a better life than you (e.g. career, finances, relationships, health) is a major factor in reduced self-esteem. Practising gratitude helps us appreciate what we have instead of always reaching for more and more. The more grateful we are, the more we are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments.

Increase your mental strength. 

Psychotherapist and international bestselling mental strength author, Amy Morin says recognizing all you have to be thankful for even through your toughest moments, fosters resilience. She cites research that shows how gratitude not only reduces stress, but can also overcome trauma. A 2006 study found that Vietnam War Veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  And a 2003 study found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on September 11.

Cultivating Gratitude

I have found that by being grateful for what we have in life, we not only attract more of what we want, but we also become the best versions of ourselves. Shifting my attitude to one of gratitude has helped me with my own healing, health and happiness journey. I personally start and end each day with gratitude.

We all have the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. 

Simply take a few moments to focus on all that you have – rather than on what you don’t. The best way to reap the benefits of gratitude is to notice new things you’re grateful for every day. Remember that Gratitude is a practice, and as with everything else, it will become easier and part of who we are with regular practice.

Thank you!

 

References:

Morin, A. (2014) Retrieved Mar 6, 2021, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2014/11/23/7-scientifically-proven-benefits-of-gratitude-that-will-motivate-you-to-give-thanks-year-round/?sh=4bc3fbc9183c

Carpenter, D. (2021) Retrieved Mar 6, 2021, from https://www.happify.com/hd/the-science-behind-gratitude/

Emmons, R. (2010) Retrieved Mar 6, 2021, from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_gratitude_is_good

Retrieved Mar 6, 2021, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier