Why Be Grateful?
People tend to focus on negative thoughts and feelings resulting in anxiety and depression. Focusing on positive feelings, and the positive things that happen in your life from day to day, can help you reverse those tendencies. It will lighten your mood and improve your outlook on life in general. Consciously expressing thanks daily can help you focus on the positive influences in your life and deflect the negative feelings that come your way.
Here are two ways gratitude can help you:
- Gratitude improves self-esteem. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that gratitude increased athletes’ self-esteem, an essential component to optimal performance. Other studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons. Rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs—a major factor in reduced self-esteem—grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments.
- Gratitude increases mental strength. For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma. A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy Vietnam War veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of post-traumatic stress disorder. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on September 11. Recognizing all that you have to be thankful for —even during the worst times—fosters resilience.
Additional ways showing gratitude can help:
· Helping you appreciate your positive life experiences
· Improving your sense of self-worth
· Providing an effective way of coping with stress and trauma
· Encouraging the tendency for you to improve your moral behavior
· Helping you build, and strengthen social bonds
· Keeping you in the present, helping you learn not to take things for granted, and not to dwell on past negative experiences
· Reducing the incidence of emotions like bitterness, greed or anger
Daily Commitment to Demonstrating Gratitude
An easy way to incorporate gratitude into our lives is to keep a gratitude journal. Keep a notebook and pen on your bedside table, and each night, before you go to bed, spend just a minute or two recording even one thing that made your day better, for which you can be thankful. Eventually, it will become second nature to record those thoughts, and help you trend away from focusing on the parts of your life that can bring you down.
Your mood can hold you back or allow you to see the world for all the good that it can offer. Gratitude is a powerful tool to help you level up in building self-esteem and self-confidence.
For more inspiration, check out these videos: