The systematic study of gratitude and its effects on humans began when Martin Seligman introduced a new area of psychology in 1998 . In the field, gratitude is defined as the human way of acknowledging the good things in life. The Latin word gratia, which means grace, generosity, or gratefulness, is the origin of gratitude, which includes all of these interpretations in different ways. Having gratitude or being grateful means appreciating what you receive, whether it’s something material or something unquantifiable. People recognize the greatness in their existence with appreciation, and they typically realize that the origin of that goodness is at least partially external to themselves during this process.
Why we should practice gratitude
Gratitude has immense power. Studies have shown that appreciation can enhance well-being, boost resilience, improve interpersonal connections, and lessen stress and depression . When we experience stress and anxiety, it is simple to believe that we are flawed or that things have blown out of control. But by cultivating gratitude, we can maintain our mental well-being by finding the positive aspects in every circumstance.
When we experience gratitude, the ventral and dorsal medial prefrontal cortex are the areas of the brain that are activated. These areas affect feelings of reward or the feelings you feel when you get rid of stress or through constructive social interactions.
People are happier and more satisfied when they feel more grateful. Additionally, they will have improved sleep, lowered blood pressure, and more robust immune systems.
The benefits of gratitude
It is legal advice to avoid indulging in self-pity, and while it can be challenging, mentally strong people often replace it with gratitude. Science has actively demonstrated a few advantages of appreciation, such as:
Gratitude makes more connections possible. Not only is saying ‘thank you’ polite but expressing gratitude can also help you make new friends.
The habit of being grateful enhances physical well-being. Grateful people often feel better than others and have fewer aches and pains. It should be no surprise that grateful people are more likely to prioritize their health, exercise more frequently, and are more likely to get regular checkups, which may lengthen their lives.
Gratitude enhances mental well-being. Appreciation minimizes numerous negative emotions, and being grateful increases empathy. Where others act unkindly, grateful individuals are more likely to behave positively.
Gratitude lessens the need to compare yourself to others. Those who are grateful can appreciate other people’s accomplishments rather than develop resentment toward those individuals.
How to start being grateful
Making an effort to practice gratitude every day has benefits for everyone. You can start feeling more appreciative and grateful for the positive things in your life by following these three steps:
Take notice of the positive aspects of your life. Start to become aware of and list your blessings. Pay attention to the little, mundane details of your life and note the positives you may take for granted.
Enjoy the gratitude you feel. There are times when you feel incredibly grateful right then and there. Take note of and savour that genuine feeling of gratitude.
Enjoy your blessings as they come to you. Affirm your gratitude; gratitude is powerful and involves more than just politeness, courtesy, and manners; it’s about expressing your sincere appreciation.
When you express gratitude to someone, you also exercise the first two aspects of it – noticing something positive and showing genuine appreciation for it.
Making gratitude a habit
The habit of it is critical to developing the practice of being grateful. List three things you are thankful for and engage your family and friends in this habit.
Making gratitude is challenging—Place’ Gratitude’ in the top corners of your dining table as a visual reminder of appreciation. After expressing it, create a quiet space and savour the feeling for 15 seconds.
You can also create a gratitude journal, which will help you track all the good things that happen in life. You can use a notebook or piece of paper to start writing. If you don’t feel like writing, plenty of free apps exist! Maintaining a gratitude journal can have tremendous benefits, such as lowering stress levels, giving you a new perspective on life, and learning more about yourself.
The science behind gratitude
Gratitude, or being grateful for things, can improve your health in the following ways:
Dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin are potent neurotransmitters released when you experience gratitude and good fortune, and these chemicals positively affect your brain. Grateful people are happier, more compassionate, and more aware, and they are also more capable of experiencing joy and other happy feelings.
When you feel grateful, it suppresses the release of the stress hormone cortisol, and it is one of the most significant advantages for your mental and cardiovascular health.
Gratitude has immense power. Studies have shown that appreciation can enhance well-being, boost resilience, improve interpersonal connections, and lessen stress and depression. The habit of gratitude is critical to developing the practice of it, and it can be the most challenging thing to accomplish. But try to make a start today. No matter the day you’ve been having, take five minutes to sit by yourself in a peaceful corner and think about the blessings that came your way and how grateful you should be for them.
- “Positive psychology,” Psychology Today. [Online]. Available: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/positive-psychology.
- N. M. Loi and D. H. Ng, “The relationship between gratitude, wellbeing, spirituality, and experiencing meaningful work,” MDPI, 18-May-2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.mdpi.com/2624-8611/3/2/9.
- Gotradmin, “Teaching gratitude without comparison,” GOTR, 08-Jan-2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.girlsontherun.org/teaching-gratitude-without-comparison/.
- “What brain chemical makes you feel happy?” tonyrobbins.com. [Online]. Available: https://www.tonyrobbins.com/mental-health/science-of-happiness/.