In practicing gratitude, we are purposefully examining the goodness in our lives. We are actively acknowledging what has led to such appreciation and choosing not to focus on what is absent or lacking. Leading gratitude researchers, Dr. Michael McCullough of the University of Miami explored the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal.
After several weeks, the participants had increased their well-being; they demonstrated more optimism, exercised more, and had fewer visits to the doctor. Moreover, they were happier. Martin Seligman, a psychologist of the University of Pennsylvania, had participants write and personally deliver a letter of gratitude to someone who had never been properly thanked for their kindness, resulting in an immediate increase in happiness scores. The exhibited impact from this study was greater than that from any other intervention, with benefits lasting for an extending period of time.
More on that later in the article. The benefits of practicing gratitude transcend far beyond happiness, also helping to balance emotions. In a study researching a gratitude intervention, keeping a gratitude journal for two weeks produced reductions in perceived stress by 28 percent and depression by 16 percent.
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Emmons, gratitude blocks a host of toxic emotions, such as envy, resentment, regret and depression; therefore, increasing your mental well-being. Who would have thought writing about what we are grateful for could be so beneficial? Emmons has documented various data points across several studies demonstrating the countless benefits of practicing gratitude.
It has been found that practicing gratitude led to a 7 percent reduction in biomarkers of inflammation in patients with congestive heart failure, has been linked to 23 percent lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, leads to higher levels of good cholesterol HDL , lower levels of bad cholesterol LDL , as well as lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure, especially while encountering stress. Find yourself ruminating on the negative occurrences from the day before bed?
If so, you likely are not sleeping well, or practicing gratitude. Positive thoughts before bed have the ability to soothe the nervous system; all the more reason to count your blessings before bed. The benefits of practicing gratitude are too good to reserve for one day per year.
3 Reasons You Should Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude
Begin a daily gratitude practice with some of these ideas:. Keep a gratitude journal of what you are grateful for each day.
List a minimum of three people, situations, or experiences you are most grateful for. Be specific and elaborate why you are grateful for them. We saw the impact journaling had on well-being in the studies above; make it a habit to purposefully explore what you are grateful for and write it down.
Sharing is caring. Share with your family, friends, and colleagues over a meal or coffee what you are most grateful for every day and ask them what they are most grateful for that occurred in that day. Shared gratitude lends itself to greater connection and more meaningful conversation.
Say thank you.
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Those two words are incredibly powerful. Consider writing a thank you letter to someone, and occasionally write one to yourself. Immerse yourself in gratitude. Focus on your day to day by making small changes. For instance, I really like coffee. Or how about the blessing of having hot water? As you begin to thank God for the seemingly small things in your life, it will help you to focus on the positive and everything you do have.
As result, you will also be much happier! At my conferences, I make sure to be in the service as soon as the praise and worship begins because I love to be in God's presence. In fact, before I speak to an audience, I make sure I have entered into praise and worship. We need to praise God because we love Him.
It actually draws us closer to Him, which helps us hear the Word clearly, receive it, and hold on to it through faith. I am truly amazed at how two people can have the exact same circumstances, however one person can be negative, dissatisfied and hopeless while the other is optimistic and full of joy! Praise makes all of the difference. Living life with a heart of gratitude for who God is and what He has done for us lifts our burdens and causes us to see everything in a different light.
We can choose to have a thankful attitude and live each moment full of joy… simply because God is good. Anger can be like a tidal wave that suddenly overtakes us!
How to Have an Attitude of Gratitude
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