Are We Taking Gratitude for Granted?
The power of gratitude has been underrated for quite sometime now. We’ve all been told to be grateful for what we have, but how often do we put this into practice? When was the last time we took a moment to count our blessings? Even if we did, was this thought followed by an unending list of problems in our life?
While the essence of gratitude is to be thankful, it does not mean that we must turn a blind eye to the tough stuff. It is about reminding yourself of all the good you’re surrounded by despite the negatives. Studies have consistently shown that individuals who practice gratitude experience an increase in overall physical and mental well-being.
Counting your blessings on a regular basis naturally increases life satisfaction and can be one of the best ways to control stress, anxiety or depression. Here are a few scientifically proven benefits of regularly practicing gratitude:
1. It increases the secretion of neurochemicals.
Thinking and feeling positive emotions promotes the secretion of various feel-good chemicals like oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin. These neurochemicals facilitate feelings of happiness and social connectedness. Gratitude has also been known to decrease depression, as well as improve resilience, social relations and empathy.
2. It makes us healthier.
Individuals who practice gratitude on a regular basis have been observed to experience lower blood pressure, better sleep quality, and higher energy levels. They are also more likely to regularly exercise and attend health check-ups, thus increasing the probability of a longer life expectancy.
3. It leads to a better career.
Although the link between gratitude and your career may seem unclear, it makes perfect sense. Along with emotional intelligence, gratitude can also improve social behavior. This allows individuals to build better social networks and find suitable benefactors or mentors. Since gratitude also increases self-esteem and feelings of security, individuals are able to focus better and become more productive. They also are more likely to set goals, and are more confident about achieving them.
In a nutshell, practicing gratitude benefits your health, mental well-being and career! If reading this has motivated you to practice gratitude yourself, there are many ways to do so. However, you must remember to practice them consistently.
Here’s how you can get started:
● Keep a gratitude journal
For 30 days, take five minutes each day to jot down anything that you are grateful for (specific to that day). It can be the hot morning coffee you had, or a cute street cat that grabbed your attention. Make sure you mention different things each day as our brains begin to get used to feeling gratitude towards things repeated. This is when we begin to take things for granted.
● Write letters
Don’t worry, you don’t need to send them. Letters provide you an outlet to express gratitude to people you are grateful for. They also provide clarity to your thoughts and may even motivate you to approach the person you’re writing about. Conversations where you express gratitude will again create a deeper bond and improve social connectedness.
● Know when to seek help
Sometimes, it can be hard to see the silver lining in life. Here is when you need to self-reflect and ask yourself if your circumstances are too much for you to handle, and whether you need help. If you find it really hard to keep negative thoughts at bay, or cannot seem to motivate yourself, maybe it’s time to look for a little support.
There are many solutions out there that can help you, including Neurofeedback Therapy. At Evolve Brain Training, we provide you with a means to harness the power of your own brain in order to attain peak performance.
All of us have it in us to remind ourselves of all the good in our lives. It may get difficult sometimes, but try to remember the benefits and push yourself to have an attitude of gratitude.
Get in touch with us at Evolve Brain Training today for more information.
Dr. Upasana Gala is the founder and CEO of Evolve Brain Training, a Neurofeedback centered institute that focuses on using non-invasive brain training techniques to maximize the brain's true potential.