Did you know that one simple habit with amazing benefits is practicing gratitude? It is one of the most overlooked and underused methods that help to promote positive self-care. Gratitude is simple, accessible in many different formats and the benefits are unmeasurable. Now that we are in full swing towards the winter holidays and year-end, it is the perfect time to begin a “gratitude practice.” This is a great habit to take on, cultivate, and practice daily for a more meaningful and full life.
Many studies* tout the benefits of practicing gratitude, and knowing them ahead of time can help you be more receptive to adding this practice into your daily life for good. Overall, research shows that these benefits can be split into five different categories (some overlap):
- Personal benefits of gratitude
- Emotional benefits of gratitude
- Social benefits of gratitude
- Career-related benefits of gratitude
- Health benefits of gratitude
Just thinking positive thoughts and waking up each morning with a PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) can make the day seem easier, more productive, and calmer. Overall, studies show gratitude helps make you more optimistic and giving towards others, including yourself. And gratitude can reduce your tendencies toward materialism. When you are grateful for all you do have, it helps to ease the need to have more, as you already appreciate what you have.
Cultivating happiness and resilience is the direct outcome of a gratitude practice. Overall, practicing gratitude really does bring more good things in your life and general sense of happiness. Many studies also tout the benefits of being more grateful leads to more resilience and ability to bounce back after adversity and hardship as well as just reducing the feelings of depression and anxiety that so many people have during the holiday season.
You will be more ‘fun’ to be around! We tend to gravitate towards individuals that are happy and more carefree, and this can spread into our own life when we surround ourselves with others who practice gratitude and are happier and more resilient. Improving relationships helps with the overall outlook on life and can help to spread this to others in our circles. Gratitude attracts more people and offers more opportunities to have more social interactions and connections. The social support offered through community, and communication can help foster social support and help reduce overall depression and stress.
Gratitude enhances your organizational and motivating abilities as well as your overall work satisfaction. Promoting positivity and being happier in the workplace is infectious and can help with the overall feeling of satisfaction and productivity throughout the office.
Gratitude not only improves your mental health yet can also greatly improve your physical health. Good mental health leads to a better night's sleep and less anxiety overall and can help motivate you to take better care of yourself physically by eating right and working out on a regular basis.
How to practice gratitude?
- Keep a gratitude journal – journaling regularly by stating what you are grateful for is extremely helpful with shifting your daily mindset into one of positivity and gratitude for all that you do have. There are many ways to do this, a simple spiral-bound notebook with lined pages is enough to start, or if you prefer hardbound, there are many options through a variety of manufacturers, and if hardcopy is not for you – there are even many digital version of journals available in the app store as well as through numerous meditation and journaling apps.
- Gratitude meditation – meditation allows you to go within and truly explore how and what you are feeling, as well as let go of negativity. A simple 1-5 minutes a day can increase your overall happiness. There are many apps and programs online as well as meditation classes being offered at the workplace and even in fitness facilities.
- Communicate with others – expressing your gratitude to another human either in person or through a text, email, or snail mail will help you feel better and, of course, makes the person you are communicating your appreciation to feel better too.
As you can see from the points above, when we shift our attitudes to focus on giving thanks (all the time, not just during the holidays!) – it has a direct link to our health and well-being.
*July 2018 * Journal of Psychology & Clinical Psychiatry 9(4)
Rejuv at Work offers several options for Mind-Body classes and/or workshops such as: Nutrition, Meditation, Stretch at Your Desk, Deskercise, Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates. These are all ways to help reduce and manage stress and anxiety; as well as promote a healthier and happier outlook and work environment. We also offer other fitness classes such as Zumba, HIIT, Bootcamp, and classes of all kinds that help with cardiovascular and strength training to balance out the more mindful classes.