Recently I have got into the habit of waking up in the morning and starting the day with gratitude – this is one of the reasons why I am loving my early morning walks. I appreciate I am probably a late starter when it comes to gratitude journaling but here is what I have found.
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” – Wayne Dyer
Being thankful changes your outlook on each day. Gratitude is more than feeling thankful. (e.g thanking someone, being thankful for someone or a circumstance): it is a much deeper appreciation for someone (or something) that produces longer lasting positivity. With gratitude, you acknowledge the goodness in your life and as a result this helps you to connect to something much bigger than yourself.
“It can be easy to dwell on what is not right in your world. Gratitude turns what we have into enough“
Gratitude acknowledges the good in your life, it is affirming that life is good and focuses on elements that make your life rich and worth living. For me, what gratitude really does is recognise that sources of this goodness is outside of myself – i.e I am grateful for my environment, my home, the people around me etc. Simply being grateful for being alive is a great way to motivate yourself to make the most of the day.
“Change your focus and change your state“
Gratitude becomes easier with practice. It is a state which is easy to slip out of when the day is tough but equally can have a dramatic effect on your emotions when you make a conscious decision to be grateful.
Expressing your thanks can also improve your overall sense of well-being. Research has shown that gratitude is related inversely to depression, and positively to life satisfaction.
Builds a Healthier Lifestyle
Gratitude builds deeper more meaningful relationships. You are more likely to forgive others and be less narcissistic. It increases positivity, optimism and happiness. This may in turn motivate you to adopt healthier habits in your life.
Gratitude impacts self control. Self-Control helps with discipline and focus. Our long term health can benefit from self-control, for example, resisting opening another bottle of wine, bingeing on cake or getting up in the morning to exercise.
Gratitude helps counter stress. Aside from increasing well-being, research shows how practicing gratitude, can reduce levels of stress and decrease feelings of anxiety.
Putting it into practice.
This evening, before you go to bed, think of the positive things that happened during the day. Write them down. Likewise on waking spend a few minutes reflecting on things that you are thankful for in your life. Consider three things however small that you are grateful for and write them down. Doing this consistently overtime can help rewire your mindset and help reframe your outlook on the circumstances around you.
Whenever you have a free moment or you are just about to start complaining about something, try practicing gratitude. Little moments of being grateful soon add up over time to have a profound impact on your health and on others around you.