Put simply, gratitude is the act of being grateful for what you have. Practicing gratitude every day can make you happier, and there are also plenty of other good reasons to try it.
Like Personal Growth on Facebook
1. It Can Give You A Healthier Perspective
When things are going badly in your life, it can be easy to fall into a trap of negative thinking that causes you to believe that your situation might be worse than it really is. For example, if you recently lost your job unexpectedly, it is probably hard to focus on anything else.
Without even realizing it, you may start fixating on the fact that you lost your job and start mulling over where your life might go from here. If you focus on the things you’re grateful for instead of the fact that you no longer have a job, you may have a more positive perspective overall.
Try to get into the habit of spending some time every day thinking of a few things for which you’re grateful. You might want to start keeping a gratitude journal. That way, you can look back on your reflections of gratitude to feel more uplifted when times are particularly tough.
The more you’re able to be thankful for how things aren’t entirely negative, the easier it will be to have a broader perspective overall.
2. It Helps You Focus On The Present
Sometimes, people think to themselves, “If I only had that, my life would be so much better!” This thought pattern is tempting to embrace, especially if you’re saving up for something special, studying for your dream career or otherwise looking forward to something that has yet to come.
Thinking about the future is not always a bad thing. However, it could cause you to pay less attention to what you already have. When you practice gratitude in relation to the things that are accessible to you right now, you should find that it is much easier to be happy immediately, rather than constantly striving for things that will happen in the future.
Ideally, you should try to strike a balance between staying aware of your goals and showing gratitude for what you already have.
3. It Makes You Less Likely To Compare Yourself To Others
By lacking gratitude, you may find that you often make comparisons between yourself and the people in your life. If you consistently notice that they have nicer cars, better jobs and more stability in their lives than you do, it’s easier to feel a little ungrateful.
However, if you force yourself to frequently think about all the things you have, you’ll probably have a happier outlook. Even if you feel that the things you have aren’t as valuable as what your friends have, realize that there are some people who have a lot less than that.
During particularly difficult times in your life, it may be useful to think of things on an extreme spectrum. For example, maybe the neighborhood you live in isn’t as upscale as the one your best friend lives in, but at least you do live somewhere consistent.
Many individuals are considered persons of no fixed abode, meaning they don’t always know where they’ll sleep from night to night.
4. Gratitude Could Help You Stop Worrying So Much
Spend a few moments thinking about the topics of your latest worries. There is a good chance they were related to things that you perceived to need or want. They might also have been associated with times when it seemed like you failed yourself or others.
When you take time to be grateful for your current state in life, it will be a lot easier to reduce your worries and feel more convinced that you actually do have enough to get by, even if you have to get a little creative and extra resourceful in order to succeed.
If left unchecked, your worries could cause health problems ranging from high blood pressure to ulcers. Worries also occupy your mind so thoroughly that they may make it nearly impossible to maintain productivity in your thought process.
If you’re constantly mulling over things that are causing you great concern, it will be a lot harder to fill your head with useful thoughts that may even help you resolve some of the things that are causing you to worry.
5. It May Help You Have More Friends
People usually don’t like to spend time around people who characteristically have negative attitudes. With that in mind, it’s easy to see why you might find that you have more friends when you make a conscious effort to be grateful.
In the beginning, you may want to take this practice to an exaggerated level. For example, if someone comments about how your area has had a very cold winter, you might agree that the temperature has been lower than usual, but then turn the statement into a positive expression of gratitude by saying, “Yes, it’s been cold this year, but I’m grateful that it hasn’t snowed too much and made it difficult to travel.”
Many people find that they feel happier overall when they have good people in their lives to spend time with. If you’re consistently grateful, it makes sense that individuals would love to be around you and call you a friend.
6. Gratitude Increases Good Moral Behavior
You probably already have a healthy sense of right and wrong, but it could be strengthened if you regularly practice gratitude. Scientific studies have repeatedly indicated that when people express gratitude, they are more likely to carry out proper moral behavior.
Several studies have further revealed that people who feel grateful have an increasing likelihood of wanting to help others and engaging in other types of pro-social behaviors instead of anti-social ones.
7. Gratitude Can Help You Remember The Happiest Times In Your Life
When you maintain a grateful attitude, it often becomes much easier to recall pleasant memories and how thankful you were that they happened. There’s a common refrain that reinforces this principle: “Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.”
You might find it most effective to call to mind those great times when you’re feeling particularly down in the dumps. If you got back from a sun-filled Hawaiian vacation last year, you might want to think of that trip during cloudy or rainy days that are distinctively the very opposite of what you experienced in Hawaii.
In some cases, the memories you have may be so vivid that it seems you can almost feel the sunlight on your skin and the breeze in your hair.
Now you know several reasons that you may find a direct link between gratitude and feeling happier. If you’re not yet a very grateful person by nature, don’t despair. Try to turn feeling grateful into a daily practice that you participate in no matter how your day is going.
Then, during the good times, the bad times and the in-between ones, it should gradually become much easier to experience many or all of these benefits.