One thing we often talk about is the fact that positive emotions are powerful. They improve our health, help us live longer, boost productivity, improve relationships, enhance resiliency, and so much more.
Gratitude is perhaps the best-researched emotion out there, and it might just be the most powerful one as well. There are a lot of benefits of practicing Gratitude in the Morning about which I will talk in this blog post but before that, there is one more important thing which I want you all to be aware of which is- how to practice Gratitude ( Counting your blessings)?
1. Always practice in the first 1-2 hours of your morning time.
2. Write with Excitement & Joyful feelings.
3. Feel the happiness & Gratitude from Heart when you write.
4. Use Pen and write in your Diary.
5. Use only positive words in your Morning blessings.
6. Always write in the Present Tense
7. End the lines by saying the Magical word “Thank You” 3 times.
Gratitude is a very powerful feeling. When we feel gratitude, a positive message travels along the nerve in the brain and while it reaches the end of the nerve, it releases chemicals that are then picked up by the next nerve allowing the message to be carried on. These chemicals, or neurotransmitters, have a calming effect on the brain by increasing levels of other chemicals such as serotonin; which produces a calm and peaceful feeling. These feelings then spread all over your body like ripples of waves. The more genuinely you feel gratitude the more positive messages are sent and the more neurochemicals are released and received allowing for peace, contentment, and happiness.
“The Magic – Rhonda Byrne” reveals a great mystery of gratitude, it’s mention there “Whoever has gratitude will be given more, and he or she will have an abundance. Whoever does not have gratitude, even what he or she has will be taken from him or her.” I am personally so convinced of gratitude that I do 10-15 minutes of practice every single day.
Here are the Benefits of Gratitude
1. Gratitude Improves Your Emotional Life
Being grateful has been shown to create many emotional benefits. Specifically, gratitude can do the following things:
A. Make us happier: Gratitude makes us feel good when we experience it. In addition, it helps us notice what is already good in our lives instead of what is bad, which helps us develop positive feelings about ourselves and our life. Research by Robert Emmons and his colleagues has found that gratitude can permanently raise our level of happiness past its genetically determined set-point.
B. Reduce symptoms of depression: Depressed individuals are known to be overly self-focused (This is not through any fault of their own. And it doesn’t mean they are not compassionate or empathetic. Neither does it mean that they are selfish or self-possessed or anything like that. But they are too focused on their own shortcomings, flaws, etc.). By practicing gratitude, attention is directed away from one’s self and toward others and what they are providing for us.
C. Increase our resilience: Resilience is our ability to bounce back and recover quickly from setbacks or stressful situations. Grateful people are able to see the bigger picture and remember the positive in their lives, and they seek out more social support. As a result, they are less likely to let bad events pull them into a downward spiral and more likely to grow in times of stress. In other words, gratitude makes us resilient.
D. Improve our positivity ratio: The positivity ratio is defined as your frequency of positive emotions over any given time span, divided by your frequency of negative emotions over the same time span. P/N. People above a 3-to-1 ratio flourish and create upward spirals for themselves; people below a 1-to-1 ratio perish and create downward spirals for themselves. Gratitude boosts our ratio by helping us experience more positive emotions such as optimism, enthusiasm, love, joy, and happiness while protecting us from the destructive emotions of envy, greed, bitterness, and resentment.
E. Improve our self-esteem: Gratitude makes you aware of the good other people do for you. As a result, you feel loved, cared for, and appreciated—which makes you feel better about yourself and improves your self-esteem.
2. Gratitude Improves Your Physical Health
It makes intuitive sense that gratitude, an emotion, would improve our emotional health. But our physical health? That’s more surprising!
Research has shown that gratitude can do the followings things:
A. Improve sleep: Positive emotions like gratitude activate the parasympathetic branch of your nervous system, also called the relaxation response, while negative emotions activate the sympathetic branch, often referred to as the fight-or-flight response. Considering that, it’s no surprise that gratitude has been shown to reduce the time required to fall asleep, increase sleep quality and sleep duration.
B. Make you exercise more often: One of Emmons’ studies showed that people who kept gratitude journals exercised 33% more each week compared to people who weren’t keeping these journals. A possible explanation is that being grateful for one’s health makes you want to protect it by exercising more.
C. Reduce pain: Gratitude and other positive emotions may have analgesic effects by stimulating the release of endogenous opioids. This would explain why grateful people report fewer aches and pains—they are less sensitive to pain and benefit from greater pain tolerance.
D. Lower blood pressure: “Negative emotions create a chain reaction in the body—blood vessels constrict, blood pressure rises, and the immune system is weakened. This kind of consistent imbalance can put a strain on the heart and other organs, and eventually lead to serious health problems,” Considering that, it’s no wonder gratitude has been shown to lower blood pressure.
E. Strengthen our immune system: The practice of HeartMath techniques designed to elicit feelings of appreciation and gratitude has been shown to result in a significant increase in levels of immunoglobulin A, a predominant antibody that serves as the body’s first line of defense against viruses.
F. Lower stress: The same HeartMath techniques have been found to reduce the stress hormone cortisol and increase the hormone DHEA, which reflects a state of physiological relaxation. The reason for this reduction in stress is the activation of the body’s relaxation response.
G. Activate the healing relaxation response: Gratitude activates the parasympathetic, rest-and-digest, relaxing part of the nervous system, resulting in many positive effects, such as decreases in cortisol levels, lowering of blood pressure, strengthening of the immune system, and much more. This is one big reason why gratitude makes people so much healthier.
H. Help you live longer: Optimism and positive emotions, in general, have been shown to extend people’s lifespans. Considering that fact and all the health benefits gratitude provides, it’s fair to say that being grateful likely increases life expectancy.
3. Gratitude Molds Your Personality
This part, I find most exciting. The practice of gratitude shapes your character, making you an objectively better person.
Reports from friends, family, and coworkers of people who participate in gratitude interventions often mention a significant and almost instant change in these people’s personality: grateful people are comfortable to be around; they’re humble, appreciative, kind, optimistic, and sincerely focused on other people’s well-being.
Concerning one’s personality, gratitude can do the following things:
A. Make us more humble: Gratitude and humility go hand in hand; they are mutually reinforcing. Expressing gratitude induces humility in us, and humility increases our capacity for experiencing and conveying gratitude.
B. Make us less self-centered: Gratitude is about acknowledging others and their acts of kindness, resulting in reduced self-focus. This, again, is one reason why gratitude is helpful in preventing and overcoming depression. It’s probably also why we like grateful people so much—rather than being occupied with themselves all the time, they show care and interest toward us.
C. Make us more kind and giving: Gratitude is well-known to promote pro-social behavior. The more grateful you are, the more likely you are to help others. As your cup overflows, you feel a natural urge to help others.
D. Increase spiritualism: Just like humility and gratitude go hand in hand, so do spirituality and gratitude. The more spiritual you are, the more likely you are to be grateful, and vice-versa.
E. Reduce materialistic thinking: Materialism and gratitude don’t go together. They are mutually exclusive; as one goes up the other comes down. Research shows that as you become more focused on external stuff, you become less grateful. On the other side, as you become more grateful, you start edging out materialistic thoughts.
F. Make us more optimistic: Gratitude trains our minds to see the positive, rather than the negative. When looking into the future, this results in a more positive outlook. The more grateful we are, the more optimistically we look to the future.
Such findings are more important than you may realize. These personality changes are extremely sought-after. Think about it: Wouldn’t you enjoy being more optimistic, humble, kind, and less self-centered?
Take Optimism, for example. Compared to pessimists, optimistic people are more successful in school, at work, and in sports. They are healthier, happier, more satisfied with their marriages, less likely to suffer from depression, less anxious, more resilient, and even live longer.
Or Materialistic thinking, Perhaps the biggest impediment to happiness, materialism has been shown to make people less happy, grateful, friendly, empathetic, likable, and purposeful. Instead, it makes them more egoistic, unfriendly, incompetent, and anti-social.
Kindness and pro-social behavior are known to increase people’s levels of happiness and positive emotion, as well as improve their relationships, health, and coping mechanisms. It also reduces anxiety, depression, and other negative emotional states, and even enhances work performance.
Last but not least, there’s humility, which the poet Tennyson once described as “the highest virtue, the mother of them all.” Humble people make more likable and effective leaders, exhibit higher self-control, are more productive at work, earn higher grades, are less prejudiced, more helpful, and have better relationships.
Thank you for reading this article.