Research shows time and again that gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, appreciate good experiences, improve health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.
You can feel and express gratitude in many ways. For example, you can apply it to the past by thinking about positive memories and giving thanks for all those awesome childhood experiences. It also works right now, in the present, by always being grateful for good fortune. And of course, gratitude radically and positively affects your future, because a hopeful and optimistic attitude has been shown time and agin to increase the likelihood of a good outcome. Regardless of your current level of gratitude, it is something that you can successfully cultivate more and more as time goes by.
Happiness and life satisfaction are not the only reasons to be grateful. There is also an ironclad connection between increased gratitude and almost every major health indicator. From avoiding heart disease to keeping your weight in check and even when it comes to handling stress better, a little “attitude of gratitude” goes a long way. And even if a person becomes sick, gratitude for the little things plays a vital role in the speed of healing. At the end of the day, there’s simply no downside to getting in touch with your thankful side!
It is also important to remember that the dance partner of gratitude is GIVING. Everyone has heard the expression, “Tis better to give than receive,” but why exactly is this so? Well, the answers may surprise you. First of all, giving – whether to charity, of your time and skills, or just by being a willing listener – actually boosts health hormones, making you feel good and helping to build immunity. Second, being a giver strengthens your personal values, and we all know by now that living according to a solid set of values pays big dividends, including sleeping well at night, feeling at peace with your decisions, and reducing stress. Lastly, while it might seem that giving of yourself might feel like you’re giving up or giving away what rightfully belongs to you, the truth is quite the opposite: when you give of yourself (time, energy, talents, money) you are building the biggest and best version of yourself possible. In this way, giving is actually “selfish,” but a very good type of selfish, because it helps both you and everyone around you live in a better world!
You are definitely on your way to becoming a better person, and with gratitude on your left, and a giving attitude on your right, you are taking up the best company as you travel down that road to personal greatness. Commit to these life approaches, and just wait and see what remarkable changes come your way!