Understanding the Benefits of Gratitude
It is the month of December, and Thanksgiving is still on the minds of many. It is one day during the year everyone reflects on what they are thankful for during the previous ten months. They reflect on their thankfulness towards people, things, and experiences. It is a day many people spend with family or people they love.
It may sound cliché, but being thankful should be something we all try to practice every day!
You may be surprised to know that gratitude has many health benefits. Your mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health all profit from continuous gratitude.
You likely notice when you are stressed. We all get stressed from time to time. It is human and it is normal. However, chronic stress can have catastrophic consequences. For instance, chronic stress has been linked to an increased risk of stroke, cardiac disease, and even cancer. Simply put, stress is killing you. So, you ask, what does that have to do with gratitude? Well, I am glad you asked. Gratitude may save your life! Gratitude is a topic that has been researched heavily and has scientific backing in its benefits.
Being thankful and showing gratitude does not mean you never recognize when things are bad, nor do you never again face stress or anxiety. But when you do, it is appropriate to the situation and it is not chronic.
Here Are Some Of The Top Benefits of Gratitude
Gratitude reduces stress and anxiety.
This one has already been pointed out, but let’s talk about why this is the case. When you are stressed out or anxious, particularly when the anxiety and stress are chronic, you hyper-focus on all of the negative things happening. Whether it is at work or in your personal life, all of the perceived negatives are magnified. Practicing gratitude does a few things. For one, it allows you to maintain perspective on the severity of the stressful situation. Secondly, it reminds you of the good things going on in your personal life or at work beyond the stressful situation.
Improve physical health.
As mentioned before, chronic stress increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer. But can also worsen other ailments such as anxiety, depression, body pain, and an overall feeling of well-being. Those who practice gratitude regularly report fewer body aches and fewer health-related issues. Additionally, those who practice gratitude report sleeping better, which also has a direct relation to physical, mental, and emotional health.
Resilience, in a nutshell, is your ability to overcome stressful situations. A study of Vietnam War vets in 2006 showed that those who regularly practiced gratitude had a lower rate of PTSD than those who did not. Even in the worst situations, being thankful can help build that state of resilience.
Be more present in your own life.
When you are overwhelmed with stress, it can literally consume you. While you are spending time with friends and family you are thinking about the stress or the anxiety, such as the presentation at work or the upsetting e-mail you received. It takes you away from the moment you are in and you are focused on what happened and how it may play out in the near future, or further. Practicing gratitude will allow you to be more present in the current moment. As a result, it also allows you to build deeper relationships with the people in your life.
Create more hope for the future.
Related to resiliency and well-being those who are grateful have a more optimistic view of the future. Rather than focusing on what is wrong or what is missing from your life, you focus on what is there.
In making gratitude part of your life, you will experience many benefits.
It is important, however, to remember that your emotions and experiences are valid. Practicing gratitude is not going through something tough and saying, “At least I don’t have it as bad as so and so.” The goal is to focus on the things you are grateful for and not to compare different things in your life or compare your pains and gratitudes to those of others. It is also important to validate your experiences, whether positive or negative. Lastly, start small. Focus on the gratitude you have for the little things in your life. A lot of little things can fill your cup with more than one big thing.
Getting started can take many forms and really depends on what you are most comfortable with.
Gratitude journals are an easy way to get started, particularly for those who like to write their feelings out. Each morning or evening write down the things that happened during the day for which you felt gratitude. You can write about experiences, people, acts of service, or anything else you are thankful for.
Meditation is another great way to begin practicing gratitude.
Take a few moments in the morning to reflect on the things that made you who you are. Both positive experiences as well as negative ones. Meditate on how you overcame obstacles and things you thought were insurmountable at the time. Doing this in the morning is ideal as it puts you in a position to face the day with optimism.
Begin Working With An Online Therapist in Brevard County, FL
True You Always Counseling in Brevard County, Florida can assist all Florida residents via telehealth in building your gratitude routine. Our team of caring therapists can also help assist in keeping things in perspective and validate your experiences in a non-judgmental and safe setting, allowing you to explore your experiences and feelings. To start your therapy journey, please follow these simple steps:
- Contact True You Always
- Meet with our caring therapists
- Start experiencing the many benefits of gratitude!
Other Services Offered at True You Always
Here at True You Always, we offer many services with a wide range of therapists. We are here to walk alongside you no matter what you’re dealing with. Our goal is to provide a safe and accepting space for you to breathe and be your authentic self. Along with therapy for teens, we offer additional services at our Florida practice. You may also be interested in therapy for first responders, therapy for work stress, anxiety, and stress treatment, or PTSD treatment and trauma therapy.
Additionally, we offer couples therapy, family therapy, LGBTQIA+ therapy, therapy for disordered eating, therapy for teens and tweens, therapy for young adults, support for families with a loved one struggling with ED, therapy for adults, substance use disorders, and therapy for spouses of first responders. We also offer play therapy, therapy for allergies, and chronic illness. All services are offered via online therapy in Florida so you can get help from the comfort of your own space.