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The importance of gratitude
We are tired. The pandemic has exhausted us all – and yes, the feeling is still there. Inflation is high, mortgage rates are high, the cost of living is through the roof, and the kids never seem to be at school! Maybe it’s therapeutic to whinge and grizzle and bemoan about it with friends – but that gets old quickly and has a negative impact on you. Practicing gratitude will be more beneficial.
Gratitude is not just a soft, fluffy concept – it impacts mental, physical, and emotional health and helps people build stronger relationships with others. Gratitude can help you improve your life – personal and professional. Gratitude is an attitude you can take with you everywhere you go. It is not a new concept – gratitude is a spiritual practice considered medicine for many forms of suffering.
What are the benefits of gratitude?
Studies have shown that increased gratitude reduces intolerance – therefore increasing tolerance. How great would it be to be more tolerant at work, in traffic or at home with the kids? To watch the kids fight with each other and think – gosh, I’m lucky they are healthy rather than WOULD YOU BE QUIET! Ok, it is not easy, but you get the idea. Progress, not perfection.
Being grateful positively impacts our mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Being positive will help you to feel better mentally, help you to feel more motivated to take better care of yourself, eat better, exercise more, and helps to regulate emotions.
When your practice gratitude, you focus on what you have – not what you don’t. It keeps you focused on the present, rather than sitting in the past or dreading the future – you are living in the now. Positive thinking helps create a place for joy to shine through. We have all had those moments of pure happiness – those moments that just hit you – when you look around at your life and think – aren’t I lucky! Imagine being able to foster that feeling regularly – to live in that mindset. To get that warm feeling in your soul.
Viewing a task in a more positive light will help you focus better by reducing the stress surrounding it. If you view challenges as opportunities, you will also find that your emotional resilience will improve. If you go into each day at work dreading the long to-do list – you are already on the back foot. Beginning the day with a negative attitude will only worsen as you get into the weeds at work. Stop, breathe, and consider the opportunity each task affords you. There will be tasks that are not opportunities (let’s be honest); they are just things you have to do – so just do them. Maybe do them first– get them over and done with, and then you can appreciate the rest of your day.
Expressing gratitude for others shows people that you appreciate them and care. This opens the door for improved interactions and connectivity. People will want to be around you more, share with you, and trust you more. The increased connectivity with gratitude will help foster better relationships, and it will make you a better partner, parent, friend, colleague, and leader. A positive attitude can also rub off on people – a chain reaction.
Maybe next time you feel down or negative – write a gratitude list and see where it goes.