Gratitude and Why You Need to Practice It

Photo by Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash

You’ve probably heard a lot about gratitude, or perhaps you’ve heard the popular phrase, “Have an attitude of gratitude.” Gratitude is an important characteristic to develop. However, it’s important to realize that gratitude is far more than just expressing gratefulness aloud – it involves living a life of gratitude. As President John F. Kennedy said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

What is Gratitude?

Before looking at why you should practice gratitude and how you can add gratitude to your life, it’s important to understand this characteristic. What is gratitude? Webster’s Online Dictionary defines thankfulness as “A feeling of thankfulness and appreciation.” It is also described as a state of feeling or being grateful. Instead of focusing on wants and needs, gratitude is a positive emotion that focuses on expressing appreciation.

Reasons it’s Important to Practice Gratitude

Why do you need to practice gratitude? Have you ever met a person who was negative about everything? After being around that person, you may have felt that their negativity was sucking your energy away. By having gratitude as a core value, you can avoid being that person. Here are just a few more reasons it’s important to be grateful.

– Gratitude helps put your life in perspective. You start seeing the glass as half full. It makes you realize how much you really have.

– An attitude of gratitude helps push you out of tough moments. Challenges will occur in relationships and in your business life, but when you use gratitude to look at those challenges, it will help you move beyond that challenge.

– Gratitude also helps you learn to appreciate the little things. You’ll retain that child like sense of wonder as you look at your blessings.

– Of course, gratitude will help you appreciate all the big things in life too.

What Research Says About Gratitude

You may be surprised to find that many researchers have studied gratitude. In fact, research shows that practicing gratitude offers many benefits. Here are just a few of the things researchers have discovered about practicing gratitude.

– People who regularly discuss gratitude enjoy greater levels of energy, better sleep, improved alertness and greater determination.

– When people keep regular gratitude journals, they exercise more often, they feel optimistic about their life and have fewer negative physical symptoms.

– Some new research shows that practicing gratitude daily may help to prevent coronary artery disease.

– Grateful people enjoy lower stress levels and a decreased risk of depression.

– Individuals who regularly practice gratitude report that they are better able to offer emotional support to other individuals.

Ways to Practice Gratitude

Now that you’re more aware of why it’s so important to practice gratitude, you may be wondering how you can begin practicing gratitude in your life. Here are some simple ways you can start being grateful today.

– Way #1 – Keep a Gratitude Journal – One of the best ways to practice gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal. Research shows that this is one of the best ways to become grateful. Get a journal, or even a notebook, and start writing down things you’re thankful for each day or one day a week.

– Way #2 – Post Photos, Words, and Items of Gratitude Around Home and at Work – Remind yourself to be grateful by posting photos, words and items of gratitude around your home and at work. Quotes that inspire you to feel gratitude or photos that make you feel grateful will help you focus on gratitude.

– Way #3 – Start Saying “Thank You!” – Simply saying “thank you” to people more often will help you practice gratitude.

– Way #4 – Let Friends and Family Members Know You’re Thankful for Them – Take time to let your friends and family members know that you are thankful for them. Practice gratitude by writing a thank you note, a special letter or send a text to let them know how grateful you are to have them in your life.

– Way #5 – Practicing Gratitude as a Family at Dinner – When you sit down to a family dinner, go around the table and have each person say something they are grateful for before you eat.

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