Power of Gratitude

It isn’t just for the Thanksgiving holiday

The power of gratitude seems to be well known these days. However, gratitude is seldom practiced. Why do so many people neglect this simple practice when it has so many benefits?

Gratitude has been proven to increase happiness, health, productivity, relationships, and so much more. Gratitude isn’t exactly a magic pill easily taken with a glass of water, but it is rather simple to practice. In this article, I’ll share with you a few of the many benefits of gratitude and how you can easily incorporate gratitude into your daily life.

Let’s first talk about the benefits.

Improved relationships

Gratitude is a powerful influence on relationships. Regardless of the relationship type; a marriage, family, or friendship, an attitude of gratitude will always improve the relationship. Identifying the negative aspects of a person, relationship, or situation comes rather naturally to most of us. When we dwell on these negative aspects, relationships with others suffer.

By practicing gratitude, we intentionally focus our mind on the positive aspects of our relationships. It can seem as if there are no positive aspects at times. However small or unintuitive it might be, dwelling on that which is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8) will bring the God of peace into your relationship.  

Reduced stress

This benefit of gratitude applies to worry, anxiety, and depression, as well as stress. In most cases, these emotional pressures are the result of dwelling on negativity. We worry about stuff we can’t control. Uncertainty causes anxiety. Busyness stresses us to our breaking point.

Intentional thought on that for which you are grateful removes negative from the mind. You can consider negativity and gratitude to be mutually exclusive. The mind can’t dwell in negativity while it is celebrating the good for which you are grateful.

Increased self-esteem

The object of gratitude isn’t always other people or life circumstances. Gratitude can be reflected inward to recognize all the great characteristics of you. Self-doubt infiltrates our mind and makes us out to be the worst person on the planet.

However, we all have amazing qualities and characteristics. In fact, it’s exactly how God made us as unique individuals (Psalm 139:13-14). Intentional consideration of our best qualities and gratitude for those qualities will certainly improve our self-esteem.

Physical health

Maybe this speaks equally to the power of negativity, stress, and anxiety as it speaks to the power of gratitude. Our physical health and wellbeing are greatly influenced by the levels of stress and anxiety that persist in our life. Consistent gratitude reverses these negative effects on our physical health.

Now, how do we cultivate this attitude of gratitude in our life?

Journal

I’m reminded of a quote I heard from Michael Hyatt; “Thoughts disentangle themselves as they pass over lips and pencil tips.” Begin the practice of writing down that for which you are grateful. This doesn’t have to be elaborate. Just jot down a few bullet points each day.

I’m excited to let you know that I’m currently working with a book publisher on a daily journal designed to help you build thriving relationships within your family. This journal utilizes the power of gratitude to transform your family. The journal should be available very soon. If you’re interested in learning more about this journal, use the email form below this article and I’ll send you more information.

Celebrate

Aspects of life worthy of gratitude are also worthy of celebration. The intentional effort to dwell on gratitude, rather than negativity, can be hard work at times. When you win the mental battle and resist the negative tide, you need to celebrate your win. Give yourself a high five or a pat on the back.

You’ve sifted through all the bad and found something good; something for which you are grateful. You are beginning the enjoy all the benefits mentioned above. Celebrate! Even if for just a short moment, celebrate.

Take time

Busyness is certainly a major enemy of gratitude. Our daily schedules do everything they can to keep us focused on the negative. It doesn’t have to be much time, but we must devote some time to dwelling on gratitude.

You can hack your mind and schedule by taking a short walk. I find this very helpful. I actually have a thirty-minute meeting on my work calendar every Friday for gratitude. Its main purpose is to force me to recognize the contributions of my team members. Sometimes the rigors of the work schedule don’t allow me to notice these individuals or their contributions. But a short walk around the building will always allow me the time to see just how great my team members are.

Thank you cards

Finally, share your gratitude with others. As it turns out, all the benefits of gratitude are contagious. When gratitude is shared with others, they also enjoy the same benefits.

When your gratitude pertains to someone else, take the time to express your gratitude through a thank you card, a text message, email, or phone call. In doing so, that other person will benefit and gratitude’s influence in your life will grow exponentially.

Need some practice with gratitude? Take just five minutes and list a few things in the comments below for which you are grateful.


 

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