5 Scientific Reasons To Practice Gratitude
Learning to practice gratitude in your daily life can yield substantial results, from revitalizing your physical health to improving your intimate relationships.
Like many things in life, something as simple as remembering to practice gratitude can easily be forgotten. But believe it or not, this small, seemingly inconsequential habit can have a huge impact on our lives.
Scientists have begun to explore just how important the practice of gratitude is. The results might surprise you!
We’re often quick to dismiss the importance of saying thank you to colleagues, family members, and those we meet in our day-to-day lives, but learning to practice gratitudeon a daily basis can yield incredible results, both physically and mentally.
Here are the five scientific reasons; five benefits shown in those who practice gratitude on a regular basis:
- Stronger immune system
- Lower blood pressure
- Increased optimism
- Increased generosity
- Increased compassion and empathy
Scientists are also trying to understand the circumstances in which gratitude flourishes and diminishes. There are likely times in your own life in which you practiced gratitude more or less frequently. The question is – how can we turn gratitude into a habit?
Below, we discuss four powerful methods to make gratitude a consistently present attitude in your life. Practicing these four methods every day, will overcome you with gratitude in no time at all!
Keep a gratitude journal
Keeping a gratitude journal is definitely the most popular way to practice gratitude daily.
Whether your ritual is simple or elaborate, get creative and have fun. There are no set instructions, just a few simple rules:
Do it every day.
Habits form out of consistency. To train your brain to find the best in all possible situations, practice it every day.
‘When’ or ‘where’ is not important.
Whether you are an AM or PM writer, find a time that works for you and stick to it every day.
Previously we talked about the difference between real gratitude and merely saying thank you.
This is where that knowledge comes in handy.
When you think about whatever you’re grateful for, take a moment – even if it really is just a moment – to feel that gratitude throughout your entire body. Make the experience as real as possible.
Just writing down what you’re grateful for, without experiencing it, defeats the purpose of the exercise.
Make it real and it will last.
Write it down.
This goes without saying, since it is a journal afterall, but we’re mentioning it just to stress the importance.
Don’t keep it in your head.
Give it power through your written word.
If you follow these simple rules, gratitude will begin to shape your life very quickly. You’ll start to feel a sense of duty to your journal, and that duty will open up your eyes to all of the wonderful things life has to offer that you can be grateful for.
For inspiration, watch this short video from Oprah Winfrey as she discusses the power her gratitude journal has in her life.
Another way to experience more gratitude in your life is by practicing mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the act of experiencing the world exactly as it is in the present moment, without judgement. It gets you out of your head.
It’s impossible to really feel grateful for the world around you if you’re stuck in your head.
Mindfulness by itself has tremendous impact on your life.
Alone, it can improve all the areas of your life mentioned earlier. Added into a gratitude practice, the results are astounding. Practicing mindfulness and gratitude can make you a happier, more fulfilled person.
So, how do you do it?
You can start by practicing a mindfulness meditation for 10 minutes every day.
It’s best to do this in the morning when you wake up, because it sets you up for success throughout your day.
If that’s not possible, or you’re just really opposed to adding anything to your morning routine, you can try a mindfulness meditation in the evening before you go to bed.
Mindfulness meditations vary but, generally, encourage you to focus on the breath and then on the silence and stillness around you.
When you get in the habit of this, you realize that the silence and stillness is always there around you, and all the noise and clutter is something you add to your life. When you take it all away, peace is what’s left.
Do something kind for others
Gratitude isn’t just about what it can do for you, it’s also a powerful tool to impact the other people in your life.
The wonderful thing is, when you practice gratitude, you’re more likely to be kind to others, and when you are kind to others, you feel more gratitude.
The cycle just keeps empowering itself over and over again.
It’s never ending.
When you struggle to find something to be grateful for, consider doing something kind for another person.
There are endless opportunities to do something kind for someone.
All you have to do is look for them: Whether it’s simple like opening the door for someone or popping a quarter into an expired parking meter, little acts of kindness go a really long way.
Many times, if you’re struggling to find something to be grateful for, it is because your mood is altered for some reason.
Bad moods are chemical reactions in the brain. When you’re in a bad mood, your production of “feel good” chemicals is reduced, and it’s those feel good chemicals that help us see things clearly.
Bad days or tough circumstances can lower your mood, making it difficult to practice gratitude.
When that happens, try kindness.
In fact, kindness is scientifically proven to release happy chemicals in your brain.
Those bad feelings and depression that come along with low mood, are easily cured with a little kindness.
Watch this very short, but informative video by Life Vest.
The video explains the neurological activity happening when an act of kindness is performed. Next time you’re feeling low, do smoothing nice for someone else, and then allow that good mood to empower your feelings of gratitude.
Surround yourself with love
When we discussed the benefits of gratitude, we talked about how it can improve your personal relationships, what we didn’t discuss is how your personal relationships can impact your ability to practice gratitude.
Your environment plays a huge role in your thoughts and moods.
When you’re surrounded by negativity, it takes a lot of energy and effort to remain positive.
That negativity can come in many forms.
Maybe your co workers at work constantly complain about their job, or perhaps your apartment complex is full of unhappy people that you interact with when you come home.
It’s not always easy to change your living situation or job, but it is easier than you think to surround yourself with love.
Make it a goal to find a positive community of people that you can befriend. It can be a church or organized club, or it can be as simple as a coffee shop with good vibes and good conversations.
Also take responsibility for the people you have in your life.
We don’t choose our families, but we do choose the attitudes we take on when we’re around negative people.
If you are in a situation where you’re surrounded by negativity, make it a point to be the anchor of love that the situation needs.
Try refocusing a negative situation through compassion.
Empathize with and show compassion for complaining, negative people,, and then offer a positive outlook.
It’s important to do this with kindness and not as a way to offer unsolicited advice.
Gratitude is magic, and you’ve already got everything you need to start practicing it right now.
Start practicing your daily gratitude with this gratitude journal – note of thank yous. Order it today for yourself, your family and friends!