The Power of Gratitude

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“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” – Anonymous.

An attitude of gratitude isn’t just being grateful for what you have whenever you think about it or on special occasions. Gratitude as defined here is a deliberate practice of cultivating gratitude in your life every day. It’s both a practice and a method, and it has a ton of benefits for your overall happiness.

First and foremost, practicing gratitude makes you recognize all the gifts you’ve been given in your life. It makes you realize how much better off you are than many other people. It makes you more appreciative of all of the good things and people you have around you.

But the benefits go much deeper. Practicing gratitude reduces your stress levels, lowers aggression, and detaches you from toxic emotions. It makes you happier, more satisfied, and more fulfilled with life. It increases your optimism and gives you a more positive outlook on life.

Even that’s not all. Gratitude improves your quality and quantity of sleep. It makes you physically healthier. The relationships in your life improve markedly. You become more empathetic and sympathetic to others. Your resilience increases and you bounce back from negative events faster than before.

Do you think this is all overblown? It’s not. These effects and more have been well documented by researchers studying gratitude, and the results have been replicated multiple times. Nor are these changes only on the surface – practicing gratitude physically rewires your brain.

That may sound too far-fetched to be true, but the changes have been documented by MRI scans of study participants. Their brains were imaged before, during, and after the studies. Practicing gratitude increased the number and thickness of connections in the emotional processing portion of the brain. Furthermore, the changes were still evident months after the study concluded!

If you want to experience these effects for yourself, start a gratitude habit. Yours can be as simple or complex as you like. You can list three things you’re grateful for every day before you go to bed. You can write in a gratitude journal. There are also numerous apps that can help you.

You can choose to use whatever method of practicing gratitude works best for you. The important thing is that you pick one and stick with it. Consistency and repetition are the keys. Developing a gratitude habit will make you happier and more content in addition to all of the benefits listed above. That makes it an invaluable tool on your happiness journey. Start today!

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