“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” Zig Ziglar
About a year ago, one of my clients was telling me about all the things that he wanted but didn’t currently have in his life. Working out how to get those things was stressing him out. I asked him if we could look at the things that he did have and maybe he could make a list of what he felt grateful for. I was a bit thrown when he said “I didn’t realise this was going to be religious”.
Turned out he had been reminded of saying grace at the school lunch table where you are told to be thankful. Even though this was many years before it had stuck in his head. I would like to assure you that being grateful or thankful is definitely not just for the religious.
Gratitude helps us realise what we do have in our lives. Perhaps you are grateful for the life you lead, your health or the people/animals you know and love and once you start to look you will see that there are lots of things that you can be grateful for.
When you look at the world with gratitude, you will probably be amazed at how much you take for granted and may also notice how much of your energy has been spent on negative or unhelpful thinking.
Having gratitude in your life is actually great for your health.
It makes us happier
Gratitude reduces stress and improves your positivity. Robert Emmons, a Psychology Professor at University of California was a pioneer in gratitude research. His studies showed that if you write down one thing that you are grateful for every day then you will feel happier. His students followed this for 3 weeks and observed that they felt happier and as a result of that felt more positive and had more energy. It didn’t stop there because six months later each of the students reported still being at least 25% happier and more positive.
It makes us healthier
Experts believe that because grateful people appreciate their health, they tend to take better care of themselves. They might notice a change in a health issue quicker than people who take their health for granted. This links into the better your physical/mental health, the better your body works and you feel more energetic and positive and more able to take on whatever the world throws at you.
It puts a situation into perspective
There is no such thing as a perfect life. We live in the real world and sometimes unexpected or awful things happen to each of us. When you can focus on the good and not just the bad things that might be happening in your world, it becomes more difficult to complain, either to ourselves or others.
In turn, this can help if you are feeling stuck and not able to pursue the things that are important to you, that perhaps involve a bit of change in your life. Little steps and a focus on the things that are going right for you will get you a long way.
It’s important to write your gratitude list down. And here’s one of the reasons why; on the days you feel a bit fed-up, have a read through your lists. It’s a good reminder and will help to shift your focus to a more positive one.
To help you get started with everything that you feel grateful for in your life, I have set up the I Love February Challenge. It’s a free Facebook group and members pledge to post at least one grateful comment per day, throughout the whole of February. We already have some members, take a look here and then press the visit group button if you want to join us.
Are you up for that?