Modern life moves so quickly. When each day brings a thousand new demands to address and problems to solve, it can be easy to let stress dominate your mind and control your mood. When this happens, good things—displays of generosity, warmth and kindness—find themselves drowned out among the thundering storm of stress; positivity is cast aside and ultimately ignored.
Do you find yourself swept up in the pressures of your day-to-day life? Do the good things pass you by unnoticed? Don’t feel bad. You’re far from alone: most people these days struggle to notice, much less appreciate, the high points of their days. That’s why it’s so important for everyone to practise the skill of gratitude. Yes, you read that correctly; gratitude is a skill, one that can help you slow down the breakneck pace of life and “smell the flowers” (whether literal or not).
What can gratitude actually do for you?
It Can Make You Happier
It’s a near certainty that you’ll always want something, whether it be a new car, a promotion or even just a new pair of shoes. The thing is, desire makes you blind to the things you’ve already got, and it leaves you unhappy as a consequence. Gratitude, on the other hand, fights the empty feelings that come along with desire. It draws your attention away from the future and into the present, inviting you to look over what you’ve got now and letting you enjoy it.
The more you practise gratitude, the longer such feelings of warmth and happiness stay with you. Eventually, gratitude will cease to be a practise; it’ll become a state of mind, and you’ll find yourself happier with life on a fundamental level.
It Can Make You Healthier
Believe it or not, internalising an attitude of gratefulness can make you physically healthier. People who regularly slow down and give thanks during their daily lives possess lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. This has been linked to increased heart health, lower levels of inflammation, a lower risk of depression, reduced blood pressure and more. Even patients with chronic illness or pain can benefit from gratitude.
It Can Make You More Sociable
Gratitude keeps you focused on the present. It keeps you awake, alert and tuned in to your surroundings. By embracing the good things in life and staying in the present moment, you’ll become a better conversationalist and team player in general. People will want to engage with you and keep you around, not just because of your positivity, but because you’re genuinely engaged with the world and the people around you.
With an attitude of gratefulness, even simple small-talk can be enlightening and intensely rewarding. And deep, heartfelt conversations? They can be unforgettable.
As with most practises, the benefits of gratitude will be more pronounced the more you’re able to incorporate it into your life. Consider starting a gratitude journal and make a daily habit out adding to it. As gratitude becomes an automatic process, it will begin to transform your health, happiness and your outlook on life.
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