Will gratitude boost your happiness?
Actually, there are different opinions about the answer to this question. Here are some things that are known:
- Bad news sells newspapers and keeps the media busy.
- Consumers are exposed to a lot of negative information daily that creates fear.
- It's easy to think from a scarcity mindset and yearn for times when life was better.
- Gratitude isn't usually found in children until they are about 7-10 years old.
People are naturally attracted to the negatives in life. Perhaps this comes from earlier survival instincts when it was important to be aware of the negatives around you. Otherwise, you might die.
In addition, there are several obstacles that contribute to a lack of gratitude or make it difficult to feel grateful. They are:
- Lack of awareness.
- Narcissism or entitlement which is a feeling something is rightfully yours.
- Preoccupation with materialism.
- The belief you are a passive victim.
In spite of all these things, the past 15 years of research answers the question of whether or not gratitude will boost your happiness with a clear answer: not only will gratitude increase happiness, it is essential!
What are the benefits of gratitude?
Even though the final answer isn't in as to whether or not gratitude will increase your happiness, according to Positive Psychology research, gratitude can:
- Bolster self-worth, self-esteem and confidence.
- Help you recognize what you value about your current life.
- Encourage moral behavior; you want to reciprocate kind action toward you.
- Help you cope with stress and trauma.
- Improve your physical health and increase energy.
- Help build social bonds and connectedness with others.
- Tend to neutralize negative emotions, i.e., worry, frustration, sadness and anxiety.
- Decrease taking good things for granted or hedonic adaptation.
Gratitude is a choice. It is possible to learn how to feel grateful more often by:
- Focusing on the present moment.
- Appreciating someone or something in your life as it is today.
- Determining what makes it special to you.
- Taking a few minutes to savor what you are feeling.
You might be wondering how often you need to practice being grateful to reap the benefits. For most people, gratitude is most effective when they practice it once or twice a week. This keeps your ideas fresh. Some people like to do it daily, and there is nothing wrong with that as long as they are getting the benefits they want.
Gratitude can create emotional prosperity and is universally endorsed by all religions. It creates balance when you feel overwhelmed. Finding ways to practice being grateful can enrich your life and increase your resilience especially when you are feeling negative.
What is your experience with practicing gratitude? I would love to hear from you.
Until next time,