On numerous occasions, you may have received unconditional help in your life. Maybe a stranger offered you a glass of water when you were parched on a hot, sunny day. Or perhaps, a friend helped you with money in the hour of your need. Or maybe, you have been that angel in someone’s life where you offered unconditional help. At such times, you can’t help but feel an immense gratitude for those who help you. But importance of gratitude in life is such that it can change your life positively.
So, what exactly is gratitude?
Dr. Robert Emmons, a Ph.D. and psychology professor, has created some great work about gratitude and how it works. In one of his articles on the same subject, he says: Gratitude is an affirmation of goodness. Furthermore, gratitude is also about recognizing the source of such goodness.
For over a decade, Dr. Emmons and his team have been studying how gratitude impacts physical health, psychological wellbeing, and relationships. The team studied over 1000 people between the ages eight and eight years. The research revealed that even simple and basic gratitude practises like maintaining a gratitude journal showed overwhelmingly positive results.
These benefits reiterate the importance of gratitude in life
Steve Maraboli is a life-changing speaker, bestselling author, and a behavioural scientist. He says: Those with a grateful mindset tend to see the message in the mess. And even though life may knock them down, the grateful find reasons, if even small ones, to get up.
While this is reason enough to stay in gratitude all your life, Dr. Emmons’ study has also revealed some concrete benefits of developing an attitude of gratitude.
Gratitude develops within you a sense of wellbeing. Based on the research of Dr. Emmons, practitioners of gratitude had increased levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, and optimism. On the other hand, they also displayed a drop in the levels of depression and stress. At the same time, they do not discard or ignore the negative aspects of their life.
Here are some of the many positive effects that gratitude can have on you
- The physical benefits of being grateful include: stronger immunity, reduced aches and pains, blood pressure in control, healthy sleep cycle that helps feel refreshed after waking up, and an inclination towards exercising.
- Some of the psychological benefits of gratitude are: feeling positive emotions like joy, pleasure, optimism, and happiness more often and an increased alertness.
- What’s more, but gratitude also offers social benefits such as: developing the qualities of helpfulness, generosity, compassion, and forgiveness, reduced negative feelings like loneliness and isolation.
While you may be experiencing gratitude unknowingly on many occasions, a conscious practise of being grateful can bring about such positive changes in your life. Here are some simple tips to stay in gratitude on a day-to-day basis.
How to remain grateful: expert’s recommendations
Here are a few simple and effective things that Dr. Rober Emmons suggests.
- You can maintain a gratitude journal. A conscious effort such as this helps you appreciate the goodness in life.
- Count your blessings, literally. Fix a time of the day and remind yourself what are the good things in your life that you should be grateful for.
- You can also have ‘gratitude jars’ wherein you put spare change every day. As you do this, you can say a short gratitude prayer as well. When the jars fill, you can donate the money.
You can develop your own gratitude exercises and observe how they bring about a positive change in your life. Because gratitude is a strong and powerful tool that can enhance your life by raising it notches higher.