5 Ways Gratitude Can Transform Your Life

One of the most powerful pleasant emotions is gratitude. Gratitude is the quality of being thankful, and it's essential to our human experience. Gratitude is appreciating what you have rather than valuing what you don't have. Irrespective of your circumstances, there are always things to be grateful for, even if they are “small”. Focusing on these things can not only change your mindset and outlook, but also nourish your health.

Gratitude can change your life in such a profound way that you'll look at how you live and what you had in a new way, through the eyes of gratitude -- and it's a choice. Being grateful isn't something that just happens; it's something you choose to do. Focusing on what you're grateful for can change your entire outlook on life.

It's surprising how much happier and more fulfilled you could feel if you start practicing gratitude on a regular basis. Let's look at the ways gratitude can transform your life and your way of thinking.

Gratitude reduces stress and anxiety

Gratitude can reduce stress and anxiety by putting things into perspective. When you're stressed and anxious, it's easy to get anxious over little things and forget the big picture. By being grateful you can see things not as they are but how they could be, allowing you to choose happiness over negativity.

Gratitude is also a coping mechanism. It helps you manage stress, anxiety, and anger and improves your ability to deal with adversity. It makes you more optimistic and less materialistic. And it fosters social connection by making you want to express thanks to others.

It improves relationships

Grateful people are more likely to be kind to others and show appreciation for their loved ones. When you're thankful for the people in your life, that's when you can feel connected and express love for them. Gratitude also helps people be less judgmental and more empathetic toward others.

Gratitude is healthy for marriage too. It makes you a more attuned and thoughtful partner because it shows you're not taking the relationship for granted and appreciate the value of what you have together.

Gratitude is a self-esteem booster

There is a strong link between gratitude and self-esteem because you feel better about yourself when you express gratitude. You'll appreciate what you have and what you've achieved rather than berating yourself for what you lack. You can be rich and successful without money or lots of achievements. It depends on your perspective and what constitutes wealth to you.

It can boost your health

Being grateful can also improve your health. Gratitude is linked to improved immune system functioning and lower blood pressure, which is healthy for your heart. Grateful people also tend to exercise more and adopt healthier lifestyle habits than those who aren't grateful.
When you're grateful for who you are and what you have, you want to nurture and support it through healthy habits. A study on the University of Berkeley website found that gratitude may improve eating habits by reducing negative emotions, the kind that prompts us to reach for comfort food.

Gratitude can improve your sleep

Practicing gratitude can also help you sleep better, which may sound like an odd benefit. But there is a connection between feeling grateful and getting quality rest: when you're grateful, you feel positive emotions and experience less anxiety. A negative mood often goes hand in hand with poor quality sleep. If you want to catch up on some ZZ's without sleeping pills or other medications, gratitude could be key to your restful nights. Try practicing it before bedtime too. For example, you might write in a gratitude journal at bedtime.

The Bottom Line

Gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions you can experience. It improves health, happiness, sleep, self-esteem, optimism, and even physical strength.

Gratitude helps us appreciate the good things in our lives, be more optimistic about the future, and feel more connected to other people. Gratitude is also contagious so when we practice it with others, it can spread like wildfire.

To stay focused on all your blessings, try keeping a gratitude journal. It's easy to do: write down three things for which you are grateful each day and focus on them throughout your busy day. It doesn’t have to be done every single day, even just some of the time is great. If you don’t have time or just don’t feel like writing them down, simply bring them to the forefront of your mind for a few seconds and focus on the emotions and pleasant sensations that may arise.  

Click here for a link to a free Gratitude Journal

"How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain." 06 Jun. 2017, greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_gratitude_changes_you_and_your_brain.
"Gratitude Helps Curb Anxiety - Psychology Today." 20 Jul. 2020, psychologytoday.com/us/blog/comfort-gratitude/202007/gratitude-helps-curb-anxiety.
"How Practicing Gratitude Helps You Deal with Anxiety." 08 Jul. 2020, rtor.org/2020/07/08/how-practicing-gratitude-helps-you-deal-with-anxiety/.