I have a confession to make, at one point in my life, I was unhappy and very negative, and like most negative people, it was due to me being unhappy with myself and my life. When that happens we often get sucked into this state of constant negativity, and we become an ugly version of ourselves. We start to constantly judge and criticise others, usually about things that are really just a representation of our own insecurities.
When your constantly negative, you become close minded, and frankly, hard to be around. It took me being around someone else who was extremely negative, and seeing how terrible it was to be in their presence, to realize I did not want to be that way myself.
After many life changes, and taking control of my own happiness, I was able to remove the grey cloud from above my head, and become a more positive and grateful person. Now I can say that I love my life. I try to be as positive as I can now, I try to refrain from judging others as I now understand that is actually a reflection of my own insecurities, and I work on my own personal growth and improvement every single day.
A big part of my journey to positivity and happiness was actually to start regularly practicing gratitude. It started as a way to pull myself out of a bad mood. When I was feeling grumpy, or angry, or having a day where self-pity creeped in, I made it a point to stop and think about 3 things I have in my life to be thankful for. I like to remind myself that it can always be worse. That little trick has since developed into me taking the time to write down something I am grateful for every day in my planner, even on days where I am not grumpy or stressed.
So, let’s talk a little more about gratitude today. Actually, more specifically, let’s talk about all the amazing ways gratitude can improve your life.
6 Ways Gratitude Improves Your Life
1 | Gratitude Improves Confidence
Gratitude helps us focus on the positives and the things we have currently in our life, and allows us to stop worrying so much about what we do not have. When we are always focusing on the great things in our life, it can help boost our confidence and self-esteem.
Related Reading: How to Overcome Self-Doubt and Achieve Your Goals
2 | Gratitude Decreases Stress and Worry
Gratitude can help to decrease stress and worry by allowing us to recognize and appreciate what we have rather than worrying what we don’t have. It also allows us to accept and be thankful for whatever comes our way, helps us to stay positive in many situations, and prevents us from always worrying about things that are not in our control.
3 | Gratitude Can Improve Relationships
Both showing and practicing gratitude towards the important people in your life can help to make those relationships stronger.
Think about it. When you show your gratitude and appreciation to the people in your life, they are going to appreciate hearing it, and the gesture will most likely be returned. Also, when you focus on the positive and the things you are grateful for about the people in your life, you appreciate them more.
Before practicing gratitude and reflecting on the positives, I was quick to nitpick the little things about my partner. Now, I make sure to not dwell on the dumb little things and instead focus on all of the wonderful positives that he provides in my life. I try to vocalize these things and my overall appreciation for him more often, and that has greatly improved our relationship.
4 | Gratitude Can Improve Physical Health
Gratitude has been linked to better physical health, better sleep, and even less stress. A quick Google search will show you that people who practice gratitude regularly, report feeling healthier, tend to exercise more, and just take care of themselves more in general. Maybe this is because we are grateful for our bodies and our health, and therefore more motivated to take care of both.
5 | Gratitude Improves Psychological Health
Practicing gratitude will help to eliminate various toxic emotions from your life (i.e. envy, anger, frustration, regret), which creates a healthier mind and life. If you look into various studies by Robert Emmons, you will find all the amazing ways that gratitude and wellbeing are linked. The common theme in all of Emmons research, is that gratitude can greatly improve overall happiness and also reduce depression.
6 | Gratitude Makes Us Happier
This is the most important one. Overall, gratitude makes us happier. You see, gratitude will make us more optimistic, less materialistic, more spiritual, less self-centered, and also give us more self-esteem.Gratitude provides us with lots of food feels, and removed all the bad feels. So, when you look at all those things, of course it contributes to our happiness.
If we are more optimistic, we see the good in life. Gratitude helps us focus on the good over the bad, making us more optimistic! Gratitude also helps us be thankful for what we already have, and care less about finding happiness from materialistic things. For me personally, gratitude has increased my spirituality. It has allowed me to be open to what is, and accept what life has in store for me. I am grateful for what I have and what I have been through, because it has brought me to where I am today. Gratitude has really opened up my “everything happens for a reason” mentality, and be thankful for my experiences and lessons in life. All of these things have made me happier with myself, and my life.
Related Reading: 9 Daily Habits That Will Make You Happier
So now that you know how beneficial gratitude can be, how can you practice gratitude in your life? Well, there are many ways! You can start a gratitude journal that you write in daily. You can write 3 things that you are grateful for everyday in your planner. You can simply list 3 things in your head that you are grateful for before bed every night, or when you are having a hard day. You can make it a point to tell the people you love that you appreciate them.
If you want to start practicing gratitude, I actually have some great recommendations to get you started!