When life is difficult, it can be hard to feel thankful for the simple things that sustain us — the air we breathe, the ground we walk upon, the people that nourish us. However, taking time each day to cultivate gratitude is an essential part of living your life in soul joy. In this blog post, I discuss five reasons why gratitude matters. If you’re interested in learning more about how to live a life full of gratitude, be sure to check out my seven-step course, The Journey to Joy or sign up for my free inspirational letters.
Why Gratitude Matters
Gratitude Helps You Lead a More Mindful Life
Mindfulness is not only achieved through meditation, breathwork, and other spiritual practices, you can also cultivate mindfulness in your life by simply feeling thankful. When you feel gratitude towards the things in your immediate environment — whether they be as small as the cup of coffee that helps you wake up in the morning to something as big as the sun that sustains us — you begin to live in the moment. You sharpen your attention towards the things that truly matter, which leaves you feeling happier, healthier, and more self-confident.
Gratitude Improves Your Mood
Have you ever felt a rush of positive energy after telling someone you love them or after doing a good deed for others? That is the power of gratitude improving our mood. When we feel gratitude, our body releases endorphins — feel-good chemicals that reduce stress, ward off anxiety, develop self-esteem, and even improve our sleep. Activities that perhaps had lost their joy for you will once again feel pleasurable. Not only will you notice the difference but those around you will, too. People will enjoy spending time with you, and want your positive energy to rub off on them.You will feel less outgoing, and consequently less lonely and isolated.
Gratitude Makes You More Patient
Gratitude can enhance our self-control, and help us be more forgiving of flaws in others. Who among us hasn’t been frustrated when waiting in a long line or traffic or dealing with a difficult colleague? Thanks to gratitude, we develop that resilience that I talked about earlier, which can help us ride out times when our patience may otherwise wear thin. By counting our blessings, we lessen our reactivity, making us less prone to obesity, addiction, and other impulse-related conditions.
Gratitude Keeps You Humble
While taking credit for our achievements is an important part of developing self-esteem, we must also remember that we stand on the shoulders of giants. Nothing great is ever achieved in isolation. It is important to take time each day to recognize the people around us, and acknowledge how they have contributed to our success. Gratitude is all about recognizing things in your life that are bigger than yourself. Strive to spend time in simple awe of the universe, and those who help make it wonderful.
Gratitude Helps You Develop Resilience
Life throws all of us curve balls from time to time. Whether you’ve lost your job, are grieving the death of a loved one, or simply facing a bout of depression that you can’t seem to shake, sometimes it can feel impossible to bounce back from tumultuous times. During these challenges, people might tell you to “be strong” or “toughen up,” but this advice can seem not only impractical but also hurtful. It’s one thing to tell someone to “be strong,” but how do we actually achieve that? In my next blog post, I discuss four easy ways to practice gratitude in your everyday life
Practicing gratitude is a simple, effective way to improve our resilience and make it through tough times. When we can find things to be thankful for, even in the most trying of circumstances, we remember that things could be worse, and feel blessed that we have made it this far. Gratitude helps us remember that we are not alone, and it energizes us in demoralizing situations. It helps us see the light in the midst of darkness.