Why Being More Grateful Is Good For You

We take so much for granted and it is only when something is taken away that we realise what we had.
Why do we allow complacency to set in?
Whether it’s being in a marriage, your children seeing their father on a daily basis, having a job or simply having good eyesight, we just assume these things are normal and part of daily life and so nothing worthy of appreciation.

Yet there are thousands of people the world over that don’t have these things.
They crave what others have.

“We take for granted how our mind puts everything together.”
Robert Lanza

Realising and appreciating what you have is a benefit in itself.

Just the fact that you are reading this right now on some kind of screen is something to appreciate.

The fact that I am hearing birdsong right now while typing this with two hands is worthy of acknowledgement.

Frederick Keonig was right when he once said:

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognising and appreciating what we do have.”

Becoming more  mindful and grateful are two goals we should have. It is a key way of improving our overall wellbeing.

WebMD has reported that better immune health is linked to optimism, which is linked to gratefulness. A study at the University of Utah which compared the immune systems of healthy but stressed law students showed that students who were more optimistic had better immune systems (had more immune protecting blood cells) than those classmates that were more pessimistic.

“Being constantly mindful of all the things you have to be thankful for can boost your well-being, research suggests. In a series of experiments detailed in a 2003 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, daily exercise practices and listing off all the things you are thankful for are linked with a brighter outlook on life and a greater sense of positivity. “There do appear to exist benefits to regularly focusing on one’s blessings,” the researchers wrote in the study. “The advantages are most pronounced when compared with a focus on hassles or complaints, yet are still apparent in comparison with simply reflecting the major events in one’s life, on ways in which one believes one is better off than comparison with others, or with a control group.”

Source: “10 Reasons Why Gratitude Is Healthy” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/21/gratitude-healthy-benefits_n_2147182.html )

 

Robert Emmons, PHD, a Psychology Professor at the University of California, has been researching ‘Positive Psychology’, he is the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude and has found that there are many health benefits for those that have a positive mindset and “attitude of gratitude”

 In his article ‘Why Gratitude Is Good’ (http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_gratitude_is_good/) he states that by studying over 1000 people aged between 8 and 80 years old, he and his team found numerous benefits to practicing gratitude, some of which include:

“Physical
• Stronger immune systems
• Less bothered by aches and pains
• Lower blood pressure
• Exercise more and take better care of their health
• Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking

Psychological
• Higher levels of positive emotions
• More alert, alive, and awake
• More joy and pleasure
• More optimism and happiness

Social
• More helpful, generous, and compassionate
• More forgiving
• More outgoing
• Feel less lonely and isolated.”

Emmons suggests that if you are more aware of yourself and the positives in your life, you are more likely to focus your attention on others and things outside of yourself.

Being mindful of what you have is important also because how you feel about what you have is what affects you rather than how much you actually have. People that are ‘richer’ materially than others aren’t always the happiest people.
Edward Diener, a Psychology Professor at the University of Illinois, found that “a high percentage of affluent people in Japan report low levels of life satisfaction, just as those living in poverty in India do.”

Bearing all of the benefits to being grateful in mind, how can we allow ourselves to focus on the negatives in our life?

Let’s take better care of ourselves, let’s look at what we have rather than what we don’t.
By being more grateful we allow ourselves to celebrate our present state, block negative emotions, refuse to allow stress to overcome us and therefore have a higher sense of self-worth.

I’ll leave you with the words of Melody Beattie:

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”

-AD

 

 

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26 thoughts on “Why Being More Grateful Is Good For You

  1. Wonderful confirmation of what I already felt was true. I know for me, counting my things of thankful has an awesomely positive effect on my emotional AND physical well being!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Melody Beattie’s words are wonderful. Participating in this blog hop fulfills those things and that way of looking at my life with gratitude. Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve found that being grateful for what one has does no come naturally to all people. I have a couple of kids who will look at a table full of food and pick out the one thing that he doesn’t like and complain about it. One of my biggest challenges is getting these kids to focus on the many, many good things. I know they will have much better, more satisfying lives if they figure this out.

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    • You are so right Christine! My middle child is like this. He just can’t see what he has and is hardly ever grateful it himself. I really wish he could develop gratitude and soon! I am always positive about what we have and it is only when I spell it out, will he see things for what they are.

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  4. “Gratitude unlocks the fulness of life” – I LOVE that. And thank you for such a wonderful article on all the benefits of thankfulness. It’s so good to have affirmed that what we’re about at this little hop is really GOOD for us, outside and in 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I could feel negatively all the time, but you say it. I don’t have all my sight and those who do are lucky. However, I choose to be grateful and thankful that I can still use a computer and that I can read and know how to type. It’s important to keep things in perspective. That’s why I love the TToT.

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  6. Hey Kerry, I hope I haven’t offended you in any way. It really wasn’t my intention. I was trying to be evoke feelings of gratitude and trying to make people realise that having some kind of screen to read blogs on is a blessing that many the world over don’t have.
    You are such an inspiration to me, honestly. I’m glad that we have been blessed with the ability to be grateful for what we have. I think I’m going to have to join TToT …. eeek!

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  7. just loved reading your post, thanks for the reminder, agree with everything that you shared, it only reinforced my belief and I am motivated to continue my journey in gratitude.. thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

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