From the time you were a small kid, you are taught to thank others for their nice gestures, compliments, or gifts. You automatically learn to express thanks.
But then how long do we extend thanks for small things that give us happiness in our daily life?
Believe it or not, there is a definite connection between gratitude and happiness. Deciding to be grateful can be the easiest way to upshot your happiness. We generally think that happiness is a sense of feeling joyful but it’s more about feeling good and satisfied about your life.
In our daily lives, we all express gratitude by saying thank you when someone helps us or gives us some gifts, etc. Simply make it a habit to be thankful for every good happening in your life. This positive reaction assists biological persistence in your body encouraging good mental and emotional health. And I do not need to tell you that good mental can do wonders in many aspects of your life.
- Gratefulness is a humble tool to improve your own as well as others well being.
- Gratitude is unarguably more than being thankful, it is a profound appreciation for something or someone that delivers everlasting positivity.
- There are sundry explanations for gratitude but living through gratitude at its mainstay demands a mindful effort.
- Whatever you have, be appreciative of that and it will turn that into enough and more.
- Gratitude transforms denial into approval, mix-up into clarity, and disorder into order fetching peace for today and creating a dream for tomorrow.
I am sure you want to learn more about gratitude, how it works, why it is important, how to practice thankfulness, and how it contributes to improved happiness. In this blog, I am going to talk all about gratitude and how it contributes to your mental health.
Read: Mental Health: The Matters That Matter
Understanding Gratitude with Life Coach Ritu Singal
We all are familiar with conveying appreciation by saying thank you when something good happens or someone helps you, gives you a gift, wishes you, etc. Still, gratitude is a more refined concept than just a simple assertion of goodness. It comprises both the appreciation of the positive and its result.
For instance, you have been to someone’s house and they served you tea. You like the tea but instead of appreciating you said that you gave me tea but you haven’t given me biscuits with tea. Then you asked for one more cup of tea, the person may serve tea but not with their heart as they served you the first time. However, if you have said that the tea is very tasty, can I have one more cup of tea with biscuits, the person would have served you gladly with all their heart because they have been appreciated. The problem is, just a few people do that.
Gratitude is defined as the appreciation of meaningful and valuable things in our lives. We recognize and acknowledge that higher powers (if you are a spiritual person) or other people help us in many ways to help us attain the heavens in our lives. Thankfulness involves much more than presenting good manners. The practice requires accepting others’ humble gestures toward us and the good events in our lives.
Gratitude allows people to recognize the goodness in their lives, and as an outcome, gratitude also connects them to something great be it nature, other people, or higher power. When you receive something expensive, unexpected, and purposefully decided benefits, typically an emotion evokes within you that is thankfulness. This thought plays a major role in regulating the instigation and preservation of social relationships and happiness.
Gratitude is A Feeling or Emotion?
The simple answer is gratitude is both a feeling as well as an emotion because we can be, feel and act grateful. It can also turn out to be a trait with other emotions. You can also take it as a multilayered emotion as it contains your thought of thankfulness. For example, I am so lucky to have you in my life. What a lovely gesture. So, it’s a feeling and also an emotion.
The Purpose of Gratitude
People practice gratitude to strengthen their relations and to make new social relations. Acts of thankfulness can be expended to ask for forgiveness, make amends and resolve other issues. Simply feeling grateful for your existence, being alive, and living a good life is a notable way to encourage yourself to take hold of the day.
Suppose you have Amrit (immortal drink) and you add one drop of poison to it. Now what will happen, just one drop of poison will finish the value of Amrit. Similarly in our relations or our daily life events, a lack of gratitude ruins the value of all other efforts. Suppose someone has done something very good to you. You are thanking them by saying thank you but you could have done this, this would be much better, or something like that. These words will spoil the worth of your thankyou. Whereas if you have said, thank you so much, I am grateful for your efforts. These words of thankfulness work magically, improving the quality of your relationship with that person. The person would feel appreciated.
Gratitude allows you to know your connection with humanity and be aware of other people’s roles in your life. It initiates stronger relationships with family, friends, partners, and colleagues as it allows the acknowledgment of our interconnection.
Phases Of Gratitude
While understanding the concept of gratitude, it’s important to know about the stages or steps of gratitude. These two stages of gratitude help you determine how you can incorporate gratitude as a habit in your daily routine.
- Recognize the positive aspects of your life even if things are not going well
It’s human nature, you tend to think more about what is happening wrong. It helps you identify issues that need to be fixed to get solutions. However, you need to get a better understanding and let yourself enjoy what is happening well.
For that matter, take a moment every day to visualize all the good things happening. The more you do it, soon you will detect the virtuous kinds of stuff and genuine feelings of gratitude and happiness. You will begin accepting and appreciating the many facets that make your life worth living.
- Identifying that some causes of these good things lie in external
Once you identify the beauty and goodness in your present, you can vigorously access the next phase of gratitude which is understanding that the good stuff is coming from the outer world. As you start experiencing this delight and gratefulness, at that point recognizing and thanking nature, people around you, luck, and a religious figure is a natural practice.
Why Does Gratitude Work?
Gratitude is a selfless and unconditional act to express appreciation. To understand these acts let’s take an example when you get a gift, you feel thankful and appreciate the giver because they are not expecting anything in return.
Suppose you are sad about something and one of your friends sends you a text message of appreciation, your friend is not asking for something from you. He/she is reminding you of your worth and expressive gratefulness for your existence to make your mood better. They are not expecting the same note from you at that time, they know you are feeling low so they just want you to feel good.
However, gratitude can be spreadable because sometimes maybe a friend is stressed about something and you write them a note of appreciation to make them feel better without expecting anything from them and without putting any conditions.
I am sure now you know why gratitude works.
How to Practice Gratitude?
Gratefulness is a tool to appreciate what you have instead of desiring new things. It makes you feel happier about the positive aspects of your life. Practicing thankfulness helps you relocate on what you possess instead of what you lack. With regular practice, you can perceive stronger mental health. Just like other habits and skills, gratitude can be learned, practiced, and strengthened.
Life Coach Ritu Singal recommends these simple ways to run through gratefulness regularly
Think of three things that you are appreciative of every day:
Make it a daily practice to envision at least three things you feel thankful for. It directly influences your attitude all day. Do it early in the morning or before you go to sleep. For the best fruits practice it for at least 10 minutes daily.
Several people visit me for a variety of mental health issues, and psychological, work-related, or life-related counseling. When I suggest the visualization technique, many people say they can’t visualize because when they start visualizing good things, bad thoughts dominate the good ones.
Well, it happens with almost everyone when they start. Once you begin with it, with regular practice you can visualize whatever you want to with your mind’s eyes. If you also find visualizing hard, you can go for the next step.
Write a gratitude note every day:
Start a thank you journal. I believe that writing can be an outstanding self-help practice. I never skip it. When you pen down your thoughts of appreciation, different parts of the brain are involved. You access your emotions and memories with a new perspective.
You must have heard about organic food and healthy mind. Just like organic food works brilliantly to develop a healthy mind similarly a gratitude note activates your brain areas that are linked to goodness and positive emotions.
During difficult situations, if you read your own gratitude journal, it can help you feel good and face the challenge better.
- Meditation and prayers:
While practicing gratitude, meditation can help you go deeper. People who are more into spirituality can do prayers to practice and strengthen the feeling of gratitude. Many types of guided medication allow you to broaden your outlook on life and your connection to yourself as well as other people.
It encourages acceptance, compassion, detachment, and therefore gratitude. You can also meditate to imagine a particular moment you are grateful for and let that feeling cultivate and be brighter.
Remarkable Benefits of Practicing Gratitude
Gratefulness has extensive effects on your health. When you are appreciative and satisfied with what you have, it reflects in your physical health. You are more likely to eat better, exercise, and take care of your health. Gratitude has convincing positive effects on mental health and complete psychological well-being. It boosts positive emotions and self-esteem which makes you more hopeful.
Feeling thankful makes you experience deep happiness and your body produces wonderful chemicals. It activates neurotransmitters such as serotonin regulates mood and dopamine which boosts pleasure. Making gratitude a daily habit can deliver numerous short and long-term benefits.
Let’s get into some evidence-based benefits of thankfulness
- Alters brain for good:
As per research people who are more grateful, have more activity in their brains that is associated with decision-making and learning.
- Less negative emotions:
Being grateful increases positive sentiments such as compassion and joy encouraging you to seek goodness and connect with good stuff. It helps you shift your attention from negative sentiments such as envy and resentment.
- Help fight depression:
You may not believe that a single thought of appreciation gives an immediate boost to happiness reducing depressive thoughts. As you make it a habit, it can help prevent depression and anxiety.
- Better physical health:
Appreciativeness contributes to healthy behaviors such as exercise and diet. Regular practice is associated with an improved immune system, restored sleep, less illness, and fewer pains.
- Improved personal and social relationships:
Gratefulness intensifies compassionate behavior, you are more likely to develop compassion for others and help others. It increases trust, and faithfulness and makes you feel happy about your relationships.
- Boost mental health and well-being:
Gratitude works ahead of just happiness when it comes to your mental well-being. Feeling thankful significantly boosts your mood, makes you more cheerful and lowers stress and depression.
- Uplift your professional life:
Running through gratitude makes you more content with your job and career. You are more likely to find meaning in your work.
- Well-equipped to cope with hardships:
When you are happy with what you have in your life, you have improved self-esteem and a clear head. It makes you better equipped and prepared to face and deal with obstacles.
Moreover, there are some spiritual benefits of practicing gratitude in your daily life.
- You know that god loves you, and it makes you love god more.
- You feel that gratitude is another form of worship.
- Feeling thankful teaches you how to regulate and control your thoughts.
- It presents you with a posture of humbleness and modesty.
- Reduces anxiety and removes envious feelings.
- Practicing appreciativeness reorients and rejuvenates your heart.
I know, when you begin, it may not be easy to realize the stuff to be grateful for, especially in tough times. Here are some evident gratitude journals emboldened by Life Coach Ritu Singal that will help you while running through and expressing gratitude.
- Modest delights. Simply think of some everyday activities that bring joy to you. A glass of juice, a cup of coffee, a cozy night suit, a soothing song, or anything that brings pleasure can be rejoiced and appreciated.
- Contented memories. It’s not essential that you need to think of present stuff or coming ones only, you can recollect any positive memories from your past. Any happy events, memorable moments, or days when you felt extremely joyful are worth feeling thankful for.
- Valuable persons. Your family, friends, or colleagues can have a considerable role in your happiness. Think about the persons who loved and supported you through your tough times and who have been with you in your good as well as bad times and be thankful for having them in your life.
- Mother nature. The surroundings and nature around us are full of immense exquisiteness. Think of something from nature that attracts you or that is simply enjoyable for you. The early morning sun rays, lovely flowers, the first bloom of the spring, running water, the smell of soil after rain, moon and stars in the sky, or whatever, and be thankful for nature.
- Kind deeds. Just remember if somebody has done something nice for you, be it small or big, feel grateful for that and it will boost your positive emotions. Similarly, if you have done a kind act toward someone, celebrate that experience and appreciate that you have carried a kind act.
- Achievements and successes. You must have accomplished various things, mastered skills, and proved your abilities. Highlight that success and be proud of that, it will make you feel good about yourself and lift your self-esteem.
- Peaceful and relaxing moments. Be obliged for the moments when you feel relaxed and peaceful and the things that make you tranquil. I am not saying you need to remember incredible moments or some extra special ones, just small moments are enough to express gratitude for them.
The Wonderful Connection Between Gratitude and Happiness
Paradoxically, being in quest of happiness itself can make you unhappy. When you are running behind happiness your main emphasis is on what you lack, always chasing delight makes you realize that you don’t have it. However, when you stop seeking and running behind pleasure and start cultivating gratitude for what you have- you will experience greater happiness. As I said earlier, organic food and healthy mind, likewise, gratitude and happiness.
So, after reading it all, you must be clear about how gratitude can boost your happiness. I know, happiness may appear deceptive sometimes, particularly when you are going through difficult situations. But surprisingly, there is a reachable path toward bliss, contentment, and positive- Gratitude. Many studies proved that gratefulness is linked to every kind of goodie-goodie including happiness, satisfaction, health, and well-being.
When I was in the worst phase of my life, I lost my partner, our financial condition was not good, and our business was suffering. Even after being a spiritual and positive person, it was quite difficult to think about positive stuff and the goodness around me. But after a while, When I saw my daughters, I realized that goodness is still here. I have to make everything right just like before for my kids and myself. So, it may be quite difficult to appreciate the good stuff in your life but it is not impossible. And once you begin with it, you are on the right path.
Chasing happiness may not bring you delight but focusing on the reasons you have to be happy and connecting with goodness can make significant changes. Being content doesn’t mean you will be happy all the time, happiness flows. However, being deliberately and uninterruptedly thankful for your life and what you possess develops a positive outlook and offers you a simple route toward more contentment.
Unquestionably, gratitude is a prodigious emotion to nurture. Making it a habit can make it an incredible trait. Remember that regular run-throughs and patience are the major elements of our intentions and goals in life.
So what are you waiting for? Start counting your blessings and be grateful for them.