The Importance of Gratitude

You’ve probably seen the word gratitude floating around on the internet, especially if you enjoy reading personal development and mindfullness content. Did you know that November is National Gratitude Month? Everyone agrees that expressing gratitude makes us feel good and studies show that it boosts your health, calms your mind, lifts your spirit and allows you to appreciate the little things in life… Earlier this year, I read that we have the ability to rewire our brains simply by stating three things we are grateful for, everyday for 21days. I honestly didn’t believe it until I tried it myself…

As a trainee counsellor and peer support crisis chat leader, I’m always on the lookout for simple, yet effective ways to help my clients and service users and I feel that it’s important to promote the methods, which I myself have tried and tested. Are you familiar with practicing gratitude or are you keen to find out more? I’d love to read about your personal experiences in the comments below.

So what is gratitude? Gratitude is the act of being aware of and benig thankful for the good things that happen in our lives and the act of taking the time to express appreciation and return the kindness.

Gratitude has been scientifically proven to be beneficial to our minds, bodies and relationships. Practising gratitude is so simple, however the results have been recorded as overwhelming… it’s a no-brainer!

Gratitude has both personal and social benefits. First and foremost, gratitude encourages and allows us to celebrate the present. Practicing gratitude allows us to magnify a positive emotion. Research shows that positive emotions are short lived, as humans we thrive on instant gratification. Therefore, we are capable and adaptable to positive change and positive circumstances, however, shortly after the novelty wears off.

Experiencing gratitude is somewhat different because gratitude makes us appreciate the value of something and when we appreciate the value we reap greater benefits and are therefore less likely to take the thing in question for granted. I particularly like practicing gratitude and encouraging others to do the same because it allows us to be present and participate more within our lives. Gratitude allows us to notice positivity more and magnify the pleasures we receive from life. We learn to celebrate the goodness and gratitude allows us to participate in our lives, rather than simply being a spectator.

In addition to this, gratitude blocks negativity and repels negative emotions. These negative emotions include envy, anger and resentment. A number of studies have also shown that practicing gratitude can also reduce the frequency and duration of depressive episodes.

You may not be surprised to know that it is not possible to experience both gratitude and resentment at the same time because they’re contradictory and conflicting emotions. When you’re expressing gratitude, you cannot be resentful to someone for having something you don’t have because you are appreciating what you have and where you are in your own life and on your journey. Studies also confirm that those who express a high level of gratitude experience low levels of envy and resentment.

Grateful people have a higher resilience to stress and negativity. Studies have shown that those who express gratitude are more adaptable to stress and have a quicker recovery from traumatic events. Expressing gratitude and looking for the little things in life allows us to change our perspective. In some respects its as simple as looking at a situation with your glass half full, instead of half empty. Gratitude isn’t a simple quick fix, but I honestly believe its 100% worth a shot.

Gratitude allows us to develop a greater sense of self awareness and self love. By practicing gratitude, we take stock of our achievements and therefore we value our efforts more. Gratitude allows us to take responsibility for our own actions and behaviours. This technique also allows us to recognise and appreciate what others do for us and in turn, learn to understand that others appreciate what we do for them.

Despite all the positive benefits of expressing gratitude, as with anything worthwhile, or anything which encourages us to work on our growth and self development, we will be expected to step outside our comfort zone which at times may feel uncomfortable. As humans it’s natural that we find it easier to give praise and compliments than to receive them. Furthermore, it’s easy to fall into the habit of a self-service bias, whereby if we do something good, we find a positive way to take credit, however if something negative happens we pass the buck and responsibility onto others.

With the above in mind, I have put together a number of resources to make the transition easier – are you up for the challenge?Remember gratitude is about taking a moment to appreciate where you are and pay thanks to the positivity in your life.It’s all about baby steps…What are your thoughts? Are you conscious of the positivity in our life? Why not share 3 things you are grateful for, in the comments below.

15 thoughts on “The Importance of Gratitude

  1. Sophie Harriet

    I totally agree about how important gratitude is! I keep a ‘gratitude journal’ and I try to write down at least 3 things I am grateful for at the end of each day. I don’t always remember to do it though, so this post has been a great reminder!


  2. Lisa Alioto

    I couldn’t agree more – sprinkling gratitude around like glitter is my goal. It takes so little to make a big difference, why wouldnt you?


  3. the Mindberg

    Really important post as gratitude is so “simple” yet so often overlooked. I also attempt to notice 3 things I’m grateful for on a daily basis- as you say it really brings into focus the winners that our lives hold. Fire one, I’m often grateful for drinkable water in the tap- a vital luxury.
    Peace and Love,
    Spence 😀


  4. Giulia

    This is a really great article on gratitude. It’s so important to stop and think about how something as simply as expressing/feeling gratitude can have a positive impact on our emotional state and bring us from a negative place or mindset to a more positive one.


  5. A Capone Connection

    Excellent points! I was having a hard time about a year ago and I read that if you are sad you need to practice gratitude because it’s hard to be sad and grateful at the same time. I found a free app that reminded me each day to write something I was grateful for and it really did help. Thanks for sharing this valuable information. It’s easy to forget to make gratitude a practice when things are not going well.


  6. 405mentality

    I like that you spoke of gratitude as a product of character instead of an emotion. To be grateful is a way of life and therefore a constant lifelong practice.


  7. Alice Lazzari

    It’s not always easy to be thankful every day, I suppose it’s something we have to practice, though! 🙂


  8. Rayo

    This post is so amazing, I just downloaded a gratitude journal app to always remind me to write what I’m grateful for each day. Thank you for this reminder


  9. Christina

    Yes!!!!! To all of this, well put together, Gratitude is so important, from day to day I find that FEW people say thank you, and even less ever show appreciation. This is a wonderful blog.


  10. shelly

    I agree that daily gratitude is important. I try to show gratitude daily. It brings positive vibes:). Thank you for your well written post!


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