“Thank You God for the world so sweet, Thank You God for the food we eat, Thank You God for the birds that sing, Thank You God for everything!” Gratitude is an emotion taught early in life, but one we slowly, sometimes unknowingly, begin to lose sight of in the humdrum. My opening lines are from a school rhyme. In hindsight, one feels what a simple way it was to express gratitude towards the bigger and smaller joys of life. But it’s never too late to restart, isn’t it? After all, the benefits of gratitude will only make your life happier and healthier.
The American Psychological Association describes gratitude as a sense of thankfulness and happiness in response to either a tangible benefit or a fortunate happenstance. To most, this powerful emotion is about embracing life as it is and being thankful for your haves rather than focusing on the have-nots.
According to Dr Chandni Tugnait, a life and business coach and founder of Gateway of Healing, expressing gratitude has a positive effect. “When we express our thanks for the good things in our lives, whether to those directly responsible or simply to the universe at large, we can tap into a sense of positive energy that ripples out to affect those around us,” Dr Tugnait tells Healthydailytips.
Global studies have linked gratitude to increased happiness, better health and stronger relationships. Dr Tugnait adds, “Gratitude can also help us develop a growth mindset and see opportunities instead of obstacles. When we focus on the good in our lives, we create a powerful force that helps us overcome challenges.”
Here are some benefits of gratitude
Being grateful for things in life can alter the way you think and feel. Dr Chandni Tugnait outlines why practising gratitude can be beneficial for your mental, physical and emotional health.
1. Gratitude makes you feel more content
People who practice gratitude are typically more content in their lives, because they take the time to appreciate what they have rather than dwelling on what they don’t have.
2. Being grateful may improve your physical health
Studies have shown that those who practice gratitude report feeling fewer physical symptoms of illness than those who do not incorporate gratefulness into their daily lives. A 2013 study cited by the National Center for Biotechnology Information concedes that grateful individuals experience better physical health due to better psychological health, a habit for healthy activities, and innate willingness to seek help to fix health concerns.
3. Sound mental health
Gratitude also has long-term effects on our mental health. Those who practice gratefulness daily are more likely to experience higher levels of self-esteem, resilience, and optimism than those without this habit in their lives.
Also read: Even Shilpa Shetty believes in the power of gratitude
4. Increase in empathy
One of the benefits of gratitude is that you may find yourself with increased empathy towards others. Studies show that expressing gratitude results in improved relationships with family members and friends alike. Additionally, those who actively express their appreciation tend to be more resilient when faced with difficult situations and develop stronger relationships with others.
5. Overall happiness
People who practice gratitude experience greater levels of overall happiness, joy, optimism and enthusiasm. They also report fewer feelings of depression, anxiety and stress. For more happiness hacks, click here!
How to practice gratitude?
Saying “thank you” all the time is not the trick to practice gratitude in life. So, then how can this be achieved? Dr Tugnait explains that it’s simple. “All you need to do is make a conscious effort each day to appreciate the people, places, things or situations around you or the good things in your life,” she says.
Some easy ways to express gratitude are
1. Write down three things you’re thankful for each day
2. Take time during the day to express your appreciation for someone close to you
3. Simply tap into the feeling of gratefulness and internalizing it.
Do whatever works best for you, says Dr Tugnait. That’s because even small acts of gratitude can make a huge difference in your life!