Tag Archives: Gratitude

3 compelling reasons to practice gratitude in your life

It’s kind of amazing how many health and life-related benefits have been associated with the practice of gratitude, but just what does the research say and where does the most support lie?  As I found in a review of this topic, there is already a wealth of content highlighting researched-backed insights to the practice of gratitude.

As this article from Harvard Health detailed, simply writing out things one is grateful for could lead to a greater sense of optimism and overall positive feeling about life.  Furthermore, when assessing happiness on an index, those who take the time to thank someone tend to score higher.

Other studies have compared measures related to the practice of gratitude to health outcomes, such as self-care and physical health, sleep, and psychological well-being.  This Forbes article did a nice job synthesizing these benefits.  (Note, it also appeared in Psychology Today).

Another emerging area is the impact on brain activity.  Brain health is one of the most popular topics in health and wellness right now so the findings thus far are quite intriguing.

This Greater Good Magazine article, which is published by UC Berkeley, focused on the mental health benefits of practicing gratitude and, also, detailed an experiment where brain activity was measured while participants completed a “pay it forward” task.  The study accounted for other self-reported measures of behavior and motivations associated with gratitude.  In a nutshell, the researchers observed that people who were generally more grateful and participated in the task showed greater neural sensitivity in the medial prefrontal cortex, a brain area associated with learning and decision making.

The field of Positive Psychology is more or less the master at monitoring facets such as the practice of gratitude with respect to other health and well-being outcomes.

In 2019, PositivePyschology.com broke it down (link here).  To briefly synthesize, appreciation was considered to be a key trait to gratitude, but, as they detailed, can also be expressed through other distinct aspects.  Expressions of gratitude have been associated with well-being, relationships, and health.  Furthermore, these associations can be influential in feelings of happiness, love, and life satisfaction.

Finally, Happier Human, a leading source focused on tips and resources to support a happy life, gave us 31 science-backed benefits of gratitude in this blog post!  It broke down benefits across the areas of emotional, personality, social, career, and health.

So to recap, the most compelling reasons to practice gratitude are:

  • Level of happiness
  • Benefits to health
  • Quality of life

Whichever way you look at it, practicing thanks and, perhaps, a little generosity as well may be excellent options for your overall health and well-being.

Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

Motivational Monday: Gratitude

“Gratitude”, as a concept, has popped up in my life more often lately.  In fact, even in the midst of a scientific lecture, the value of the mind-body connection to our health was addressed.  If, like me, you have been listening to Amy Myers’ online broadcasts “The Thyroid Connection Summit” you might have heard Dr. David Haase, MD bring this up.  (Note, I definitely recommend looking into his work).

The quote I included in the feature image spoke to me as it resonates to my overall brand and message.  However, a close second, from Melody Beatie, weaves the concept of mindfulness in quite well;

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity… It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Now how is that for rethinking your current situation???

I hope your week is off to a great start and, of course, Happy Motivational Monday!

Joy

A few years ago, I was about to take a few critical steps in the path to a career change.  Along the way, through a trusted friend, I met a bright young woman with an entrepreneurial spirit and zest for life.  She had been working with one of those at home party-merchandise sales type of organizations for several years and had moved up the ranks while doing quite well for herself and her family.  She is one of the best goal setters I have ever met.

Part of my transition was a temporary shift from full- to part-time employment in order to work in the industry I was shifting to.  This had entailed nearly 2 years of cutting back on expenses beforehand, then, changes in my living scenario to help keep the financial puzzle put together (more or less).

…and so, it didn’t take long for this chipper entrepreneur to ask me if I wanted to take a stab at working part-time with her company.  I had never considered this type of arrangement, nor did I ever think I would have.  However, with a change of pace and location, it became appealing.  Not only did it have potential to help bridge some gaps from a financial perspective, it provided a social component.  Living in a new area had made me feel a little bit imbalanced in the latter area.

Flash forward a few years, I can reflect and say without hesitation that I really wasn’t born to be a sales person.  However, through this opportunity, I carved out a niche.  I started contributing a portion of my income from this model to various charitable causes.  If a hostess had one in mind, I would honor that for her.  It became a way to bring a little altruism into my social connectivity and, although I never really made a lot of money from the endeavor, I gained value in other areas of life.

One of the years I was on board, we had a small holiday party with regional members of the organization getting together.  We held a small gift exchange, each person brought one gift for an on the spot swap/share.  One of the items in my gift bag was a pair of red, fuzzy, slipper-like socks with the holiday themed word “Joy” appliqued to the front.  At the time, I could not have realized how I would come to appreciate this novelty gift item.

Not only do I now live in the Upper Midwest with colder, longer winters, I also have secondary Raynaud’s syndrome in which my fingers, toes, hands, and feet can experience temporary numbness and failed circulation.  The syndrome varies how and when it affects people, but for me, changes in the weather or cold, wet time periods are the most challenging and it is thought to be a secondary effect from other existing autoimmune conditions.  However, these fuzzy, slipper-like socks really help with my feet during the Raynaud’s episodes.

Now days, when I wear them, I find myself looking down at them while really, truly feeling “Joy” and appreciation for the small token given to me in life.  They provide a subtle, yet important, reminder of the delicate balancing act we play as we dance through life.  Furthermore, they illustrate the importance of gratitude as we take each step.