“Be grateful for what you already have while you pursue your goals. If you aren’t grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you would be happy with more.” – Roy T. Bennett
So here’s a question for you, does being happy make us grateful or does being grateful make us happy? If you thought the latter then you’re probably right. There are many things in life that make us happy, but this is instant gratification and it doesn’t last. Before long we’re on the search again for something ‘more.’ The act of practising gratitude takes time but is a more sustainable form of happiness.
Practising gratefulness has shown to positively affect those suffering from anxiety and depression. By focusing on how grateful we are to others or how much someone has blessed our life, we instinctively steer away from negative thoughts and emotions.
If you’ve never made a gratitude journal, it’s time you started. New year….new beginnings! Each morning when you wake or every evening before bed, whichever fits in to your day better, write down one thing you are grateful for. It can be something big, it can be something minor, it can have happened that day or at any moment in time. Why not make it a challenge….30 days of gratitude!
Here are some gratitude prompts to kickstart your journal and get you on your way. You can turn your life from humdrum to happy in no time.
What freedoms are you grateful for?
Name something beautiful you saw today
Think of something you are grateful for in a family member
What about your body are you grateful for?
What’s something positive you have in your life today which you didn’t have a year ago?
What do you like about your job/school?
How are you able to help others?
Look around the room and think of all the things you are grateful for
What accomplishments are you proud of?
What made you laugh today?
What do you like most about your family?
What is the favourite part of your day?
Who are you grateful to have in your life?
Getting the idea? By harnessing the power of positivity, gratitude and thankfulness you can transform your mindset and improve your overall wellbeing. It also has a knock on effect, for example practising gratitude improves optimism which in turn affects behaviour. The tendency to exercise increases which then leads to fewer physical ailments and better quality of sleep, thus improving your immune system and raising energy levels.<?p>
The benefits of gratitude have been scientifically studied for over fifteen years and every study has undisputable evidence that gratitude benefits our bodies, minds and souls. In a sense gratitude rewires your brain as it stimulates the release of dopamine, the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter. Just like your canine friend enjoying a tummy rub, the brain is saying, ‘yes, give me more of that!’ Once you begin to see things to be grateful for, your brain starts looking for even more things to be grateful for.
Practising gratitude doesn’t always come easy. It’s hard to always remember the good things in life, especially if you are going through a tough time. Like any new skill, gratitude takes practice to master, but it won’t take long so why not start now. I know I’m definitely grateful for that large cup of coffee I had this morning…
“Gratitude is wine for the soul.
Go on. Get drunk.”