The holiday season is the perfect time to consider what you are thankful for and why. But Thanksgiving and Christmas aren’t the only times of the year to count your blessings. Finding gratitude and appreciating the small stuff in life throughout the year could positively impact your day-to-day life.
The Psalms are always a comforting place to turn to for reminders of joy and gratitude. Psalm 92:1-2 speaks about the everyday grace of gratitude: “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High, To declare Your loving kindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night.”
There are many tragedies in this world, and it’s easy to lose joy and appreciation in your everyday life. Choosing gratitude is choosing to see the world with His grace. While relationships, finances and other aspects of life may change for better or for worse, God is here for better or for worse. Your ability to have and show gratitude in your daily life opens your mind, body and spirit to an abundance of positivity.
1. Gratitude is Amazing for Your Heart
As you give thanks, your mood improves and you begin to pay attention to choosing positive health behavior, from fitness to nutrition. Positive psychological attributes, such as expressing gratitude, have a direct effect on your heart health, reducing inflammation.
To help you in thanking God, we created a 30 Days of Gratitude Prayer Guide HERE. Download and print this guide to keep with you as a reminder of God's love and promises.
2. Gratitude Boosts Your Memory
Giving thanks is a big brain booster, providing an increased overall sense of wellbeing and quality. As you show gratitude, anxiety and depression risks decrease, freeing up room for your ability to focus on the most important memories and loved ones.
3. Gratitude Improves Your Sleep Quality
Having trouble catching the ZZZs? Write down what you are thankful for as you begin to feel drowsy. Researchers have discovered if you record what you’re grateful for 15 minutes before bedtime, you’ll fall asleep faster, longer and have a better sleep quality.
4. Gratitude Deepens Your Relationships
It’s about the little things your partner does for you, like feed the kids so you can sleep in. It’s in a simple phone call from an old friend you haven’t heard from in months, just to check in. Gratitude makes your relationships stronger, and that’s reinforced when you spend time writing down those little things. The simple act of jotting these little things down notes and reinforces their importance to you.
5. Gratitude Strengthens Your Immune System
Optimism is on the same positive emotion spectrum as expression of gratitude, which is linked with better immune system health. Stressed-out people who see situations with a positive light and sense of gratitude have more immune-boosting blood cells than those who are pessimistic.
6. Gratitude Boosts Joy
Giving thanks and feeling gratitude toward others reduces a variety of negative emotions, such as resentment, envy or frustration. Gratitude is strongly linked with personal wellbeing, and gratitude effectively boosts happiness and reduces feelings of sadness.
7. Gratitude Reduces Depression
Across studies, expressing gratitude was revealed to reduce feelings of depression. This was most effective when participants chose optimistic viewpoints and reframed negative situations with positivity and gratefulness.
8. Gratitude Helps You Feel Peace
Do you have trouble with anxiety? Cultivating gratefulness may lessen your anxiety, especially from more chronic conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Practicing proactive coping skills and self-efficacy empowers you and relieves symptoms.
9. Gratitude Amplifies Your Career
Expressing gratitude can make you a more effective manager, assist you with networking and boost your decision-making skills. The result helps you gain headway on your career path, making your workplace an enjoyable place to be.
10. Gratitude Increases Your Productivity
Do you need to be more productive? Writing a letter to someone with gratitude or keeping a gratitude journal will increase your productivity, boosting levels of alertness, confidence, enthusiasm and determination.
Gratitude is ultimately about connection and paying attention. A gratitude practice is essential in your daily life to feel happier and more connected to the world and a higher power. Keep a gratitude journal. Try to turn complaints into positive compliments.
See the light side of things, and appreciate the little stuff of life. Talk a walk, and appreciate how the light breaks through the stormy clouds. Take a moment to smile at your partner as he or she lets you sleep in, again. Write a letter to your mother expressing your gratitude for all she does for you now.
Negativity and bad turns or luck in life will make you lose your footing at times. It happens. Expressing gratitude is a wonderful way to stay in touch with God and those who love and support you, from morning to night.
Sarah Landrum is a freelance writer on a mission to change the world and help people live happier, more enriched lives. She is also the founder of the career and happiness site Punched Clocks.
Image courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: November 18, 2016