Being Grateful Can Save Your Life
Picture this: You wake up to the sound of your alarm clock, groggily roll out of bed, and start your day. As you move through your routine, you might not even think about the simple things that make your life easier and more enjoyable. The roof over your head, the food in your fridge, the job that pays your bills. It’s easy to take these things for granted. But what if you could shift your focus and start appreciating all the good in your life? That’s where gratitude comes in. Gratitude is a powerful tool that can transform your mindset and improve your overall well-being.
Health Benefits of Gratitude
Mayo Clinic, in one of their articles posted in December 2022, stated that ‘studies have shown that feeling thankful can improve sleep, mood, and immunity. Gratitude can decrease depression, anxiety, difficulties with chronic pain, and risk of disease.’
Robert J Waldinger an American psychiatrist says, ”grateful people live longer and are healthier overall. This means that learning how to practice gratitude is one of the best things you can do for yourself.” Waldinger is the current director of The Harvard Adult Development Study, a longest-running study on happiness that reveals that grateful people are happy people.
Why? The answer is simple according to Waldinger. In his co-authored book- The Good Life he says that ‘being grateful focuses your attention on what you have, rather than what you don’t, and reminds you about all that is good in your life’. He further explains ‘that gratitude is one of the best tools for strengthening relationships, and our relationships with others are the strongest factor in determining happiness.’
Ameerah Joseph shares her differential experience with Sukino Healthcare. “I have always been good-mannered and never shied away from saying thank you, yet I was facing multiple health issues,” says the client relations executive from Bengaluru. It was only when Ameerah attended a mindfulness workshop did she learn the nuances of being grateful the right way and her life took a different turn. She now practices gratefulness as a daily ritual and admits that she has never felt so energetic and fit before.
Does gratitude mean just saying thank you?
Nisha Gautham, a wellness expert based out of Mumbai, says it is essential for people to acknowledge the difference between just saying thank you and experiencing gratitude.
According to her, “Saying ‘thank you’ is a polite gesture that acknowledges someone’s effort or kindness. It’s a social etiquette, we’re taught from a young age.” She further adds that experiencing deep gratitude goes beyond mere words. It’s a feeling that emanates from the depths of the heart and soul. It’s a recognition of the abundance in one’s life and the people who make it possible. Deep gratitude is an emotion that transcends social norms and expectations. It’s a state of being that can transform relationships, health, and outlook on life. So while saying “thank you” is a good start, diving deeper into the well of gratitude can lead to a richer, more fulfilling life experience.
6 simple ways to practice gratitude
1- Create a gratitude calendar. Plan and write an activity against each day of the month that will make you feel good and thankful for life.
2- Maintain a gratitude journal. Begin and end your day by writing at least one or two things you are grateful for.
3- Reach out to a long-lost friend. Send them a note or call them and reminisce about the happy times. If your experience has been unpleasant, reach out to them too by thanking them for the challenges they brought and humbly describe the lessons you learned through the relationship.
4- Write a note of gratitude to someone in your past. It could be a teacher, a colleague, a boss, or a friend who positively influenced your life.
5- Be generous in complimenting people. But remember to be sincere.
6- Take a walk and learn to appreciate the beauty around you. The flowers, the sky, the trees, the beautiful buildings, the breeze blowing against your face, etc.
In a world that often focuses on the negative, gratitude is like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day. By cultivating a daily gratitude practice, you can train your brain to notice the good in your life, even amid challenges. And as you practice gratitude, you’ll begin to see positive changes ripple out into every area of your life.
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