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Adapt the Attitude of Gratitude for Numerous Benefits

  • by: theiaAdmin
  • February 12, 2020

Expressing gratitude, or noticing and appreciating the good and positive things in the world, has lots of proven benefits over many areas of life. It can take very little time to reap the incredible amount of benefits! It has been found to be transformative when executed in the morning, leaving you feeling awake and joyful to start your day. Gratitude can help people find the light in times of darkness, when they’re able to recognize the good even in times of bad. It may not always feel right, like you’re reaching to find anything positive, but I can reassure you, it does help. Studies say that gratitude is essential for happiness and integral to positive functioning overall.

The benefits are undeniable and abundant! There are emotional, mental, social, health, and more positive benefits.

Benefits:

  • Emotional =
    • Increased mood and life satisfaction
    • 90% of Americans feel “extremely happy” when expressing gratitude
  • Mental =
    • Increased hope and optimism
    • Increased happiness in veterans and people with PTSD
      • Studies suggest the same for other disorders as well
    • Decreased stress over time, narcissism, and materialism
    • Decreased depression (in terms of their negative beliefs of self, world, and future)
  • Social =
    • Increased resilience in time of life transition
    • Increased trust, will to forgive, expressiveness, and generosity
    • Increased social support and quality of relationships by self and peers
    • Promotes relationship formation, maintenance, connection, and satisfaction
  • Health =
    • Results in healthier eating
    • Decreased risk of heart disease
    • Expressing gratitude before going to bed results in positive pre-sleep thoughts which cause improved sleep quality and quantity, as well as better performance the following day

Expression:

So much good comes from being grateful! There are lots of interactive journals available for sale online and in bookstores. There’s also a plethora of smart phone apps out there, which are great because they can send reminders and are more time-efficient in comparison. Sometimes the physical journal is better because actually writing things down makes them real, stick, and have more meaning. There are even journals specific for children! Did you know that teaching them gratitude early on will increase their happiness, empathy, and help them be more thankful for everything they have?

View the statistics in the infographic below and you’ll have no doubts about expressing more gratitude throughout your life.

If you’re looking for some direction when it comes to searching through the long list of gratitude smart phone apps to find your perfect fit, look no further! We tried a handful and have found our top four favorites.

  1. Grateful: A Gratitude Journal
    1. This app provides you with one, short prompting question to answer, and “what are you grateful for?” is just one of them. It lets you change the prompt if you don’t like it/it doesn’t apply to you at that moment in time. You focus on one entry at a time, which is unique to this app. You can do multiple in a day if you’d like, otherwise one will do! It may be accompanied with a picture as well as notes to jot down on the side as additional thoughts that aren’t a part of your journal response. Giving you one short prompt at a time makes it a simple commitment and it is still very custom! 2 thumbs up for how easy and fast this one is.
  2. Gratitude
    1. This one is either an open-ended journal, which you can also choose to view thought-provoking prompts if you need some inspiration, or a “Dear…” letter of gratitude to someone in your life. You can change the color of the background, possibly to match your mood or feeling, attach multiple pictures, and read the quote of the day for inspiration. It can send you daily reminders, it keeps track of your entry streaks, and has a separate tab for daily affirmations. This app allows you to do the most, and to get the most out of all it has to offer, I would suggest this app if you’re willing to spend more time on it. P.S. It also has dark mode, which is great for your eyes!
  3. Gratitude 365
    1. This particular app gives you prompts that spark both gratitude and positive thoughts. It allows for interaction, reflection, and gives you reminders each day. This is the most prompt-driven, thought-provoking app out of the ones I tried and have listed. If you want that guidance, then this app is for you. You can try it free for a week, then it will cost a fee. However, if you keep up with it, they have turned it in to a sort of game in which your consistency gets rewarded with streaks and medallions. They also have a grateful community you can be a part of for inspiring and supporting others and vice versa. It’s definitely more of a time-consuming app.
  4. Morning! – A 5 Minute Journal
    1. This one is quick and very easy. The app is less custom overall and they give a quote of the day. It’s meant to be used once in the morning and once at night for different purposes, in which your responses are not lengthy. In the morning, it wants you to put down three things you’re grateful for, three things that would make your day great, and a daily affirmation. After your day is over, it wants you to input three things that happened that day that were amazing as well as three things that you could have done better. Aside from gratitude, it also helps you realize what you can do to grow as a person and give you the space for reflection that can help you with that. If you want something more modern and app-like, this is the one for you. Sometimes a brief reflection is all you need!

Rethink Gratitude:

If you’re having a little trouble getting a solid grip on exactly what gratitude is, try thinking about what the opposite of gratitude is – entitlement. Thinking about these terms and the differences between them helps paint a black and white portrait of exactly what gratitude is in your head, which, in return, may help you figure out how you’re comfortable expressing it and why.

Research proves that gratitude is essential for happiness. Gratitude is dependent on unmerited favors, thrives on specificity, and is contagious! When feelings of gratitude are expressed and/or received, dopamine and serotonin are released, immediately enhancing mood and feelings of happiness from within. Dopamine and serotonin are two crucial neurotransmitters responsible for emotions and feeling “good.”

On the other hand, ingratitude is unfortunately very common as it’s easy to take blessings for granted, and you may be forgetful in this way. A lack of gratitude is also contagious and is passed from one generation to the next. It stems from having good things, success, etc. and not giving thanks for them. Negativity towards and failure to recognize aid will cause relationship issues. Entitlement is the core of narcissism, and entitlement plus self-absorption provide massive obstructions to gratitude.

Gratitude

vs

Entitlement

Gifts

How you view acts of gratitude done for you

Birthright or claim

They’re helping you

How you view the people who provide you with gratitude acts

They owe you

Given blessings

Overarching idea

Fueled by materialism

You didn’t create yourself, are not fully self-sufficient, and can rely on others

Level of dependence

You created yourself, are fully self-sufficient, and don’t need anyone else

You thank people (and sometimes things), which has a positive effect on those people (they glow and there’s an increase in the strength of your relationship)

How you show thanks/what you’re thankful for

You thank things, which has no effect on things

You indulge in the enjoyment of the good things

How you react to acts of gratitude

You take them for granted and don’t linger on them

“People who are ungrateful tend to be characterized by an excessive sense of self-importance, arrogance, vanity, and an unquenchable need for admiration and approval. Narcissists reject the ties that bind people into relationships of reciprocity. They expect special favors and feel no need to pay back or pay forward.” – Robert Emmons

Overall, I hope this read has opened your mind to the possibilities and benefits of changing the way you think about acts of kindness all around you. I hope this reminds you to think more positively about yourself and all aspects of your life. These findings are research-proven! I encourage you to take a step back from what troubles you, take a deep breath, and reflect within. Focusing on what is simply in front of you versus what you don’t have is the key, as scientists say, to happiness.

For more information, visit these links:

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/pdfs/GratitudePDFs/2Wood-GratitudeWell-BeingReview.pdf

https://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2014/11/23/7-scientifically-proven-benefits-of-gratitude-that-will-motivate-you-to-give-thanks-year-round/#20f26a67183c

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/what_stops_gratitude

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