Three Ways Gratitude Makes Life Awesome, According to Researchers

Categories Personal Growth
gratitude

 

Gratitude – the wonderful feeling of appreciation we get when we admire and value something, just because it exists. A feeling so hard to describe and “quantify” that experts are only now beginning to understand its real potential.

Martin Seligman, a pioneer of Positive Psychology and the author of Flourish, believes that:

Gratitude can make your life happier and more satisfying. When we feel gratitude, we benefit from the pleasant memory of a positive event in our life. Also, when we express our gratitude to others, we strengthen our relationship with them.

Think about it! The key to our happiness packed in one pure moment of gratitude. And best of all, it’s ridiculously easy to practice.

#1 Gratitude boosts well-being

gratitude

Well-being is the word researchers often use to describe our overall sense of health and happiness. From how well we get along with our life partner, to job satisfaction, money, and physical health, almost every aspect of life adds up to our sense of well-being.

But nothing has a positive impact on well-being than gratitude. According to a recent study, gratitude has a direct effect on “active coping styles, social support, and well-being.” [1]

In other words, when we receive life’s hardships with gratitude, getting over them suddenly becomes a lot easier. On top of that, gratitude nurtures close relationships. All these incredible benefits that we get just from being grateful can quickly boost our well-being.

But is there a practical way to achieve this?

Luckily, there is! And it’s called gratitude meditation.

As the name suggests, gratitude meditation is about expressing gratitude through a quick session of mindfulness meditation. This simple trick is so powerful that experts believe it can work as a “refresh” button for our brain. [2] In other words, it clears out the “bad” thoughts that lead to bigger problems.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Find a comfortable position.
  2. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing for a couple of minutes.
  3. Then gently turn your attention towards the things you’re grateful for.
  4. Let your mind sink into that feeling of gratitude.

Do this every morning, and you’ll have an awesome day. The more awesome days, the better our well-being.

#2 Gratitude is an ‘antidepressant.’

gratitude

According to the World Health Organization, “more than 300 million people are living with depression.” That means, at some point, some of us will deal with a (more or less severe) form of depression.

So, what can we do to stay healthy (mentally)?

Researchers who’ve looked for ways to prevent this problem believe that gratitude might be a good “antidepressant.” For example, a study involving a two-week gratitude exercise revealed that being grateful on a regular basis can actually lower depression. [2]

Based on this study, it appears that the simplest thing we can do to avoid depression is to keep a list of the things we’re grateful for and update it on a daily basis.

As self-help author Melody Beattie says:

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

In other words, gratitude helps us cope with our painful past, ever-changing present, and worrying future. In short, we make peace with ourselves.

#3 Gratitude eventually leads to happiness

gratitude

My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved. I have been given much, and I have given something in return. Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.” – Oliver Sacks

Here’s a man who truly understood the power of gratitude. In his last book (Gratitude), the famous neurologist Oliver Sacks talks about what he considered to be a beautiful life. Even after he found out he had cancer, the man continued to “count his blessings.”

That’s why he was able to find happiness even in the face of death. And so can any of us, if we learn to be grateful for who we are and what we have.

We just have to follow two simple tricks:

  1. A gratitude meditation session each morning.
  2. A list of the things we’re grateful for before we go to bed.

That’s it!

To sum up, gratitude makes life awesome by:

  • Boosting well-being
  • Preventing depression
  • And paving the way for lasting happiness.

Works Cited

[1] C.-C. Lin and Y.-c. Yeh, “How Gratitude Influences Well-Being: A Structural Equation Modeling Approach,” Social Indicators Research, p. 205–217, 2015.
[2] S. A. M and A. C. Simpkins, “Cultivating Happiness through Compassion and Gratitude,” in Core Principles of Meditation for Therapy: Improving the Outcomes of Psychotherapeutic Treatments, Hoboken, NJ, USA, John Wiley & Sons, 2016.
[3] C. N. Harbaugh and M. W. Vasey, “When do people benefit from gratitude practice?,” The Journal of Positive Psychology, vol. 9, no. 6, pp. 535-546, 2014.

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2 thoughts on “Three Ways Gratitude Makes Life Awesome, According to Researchers

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    1. Hey,

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