Gratitude and PsychologyGratitude is an incredibly important and powerful emotion. With the help of strong psychology research, regularly showing appreciation and being thankful is associated with overall happiness and satisfaction. When you feel more positive about your life, you are much more likely to have stronger relationships and improved mental and physical health.

However, obtaining this mindset is not always as easy as it sounds. With the hustle and bustle of life and the constant pressure to get ahead, you can easily fall into an unthankful state of mind. Even though social pressures and your environment have a major role in your life, you should still strive to work on being grateful and expressing appreciation.

What Is Gratitude?

Gratitude comes from the Latin word “gratia”, which means being thankful and acknowledging the goodness of your life. It is an emotion, personality trait and a mood all in one. When you are grateful, you are obtaining happiness and satisfaction in expressing appreciation of life situations regardless of what is going on.

Many times, plans and milestones do not always go the way we want them to. For example, if someone wants a promotion at work, but the position becomes filled by someone else, a person who has gratitude will be thankful that they have a job in the first place.

Gratitude helps people open their eyes to see what they already have instead of what they lack. Making a conscious effort to practice this leads to numerous benefits.

Why is Gratitude Important?

Psychology research has demonstrated through numerous studies how valuable expressing gratitude is to your overall wellbeing. It touches every aspect of your life, from mental, physical and relationships with others.

  • Physical Health Benefits – Practicing gratitude is more than just a mental exercise. It also effects your physical health in many ways, such as helping you develop a stronger immune system, lowering blood pressure, improves sleep patterns and gives you motivation to be more active.
  • Mental Health Benefits – As mentioned before, being grateful and being satisfied with life strongly coincide with each other. Gratitude drastically reduces the risk of having toxic emotions such as depression, frustration, regret and envy.
  • Relationship Benefits – When you feel thankful and radiate happiness, you tend to be more forgiving, helpful, generous and outgoing. All of these traits help feel healthy relationships.

Gratitude and PsychologyCultivating Gratitude

Cultivating gratitude is a conscious choice you have to make daily. We all know that nobody is perfect. Life can get busy, making it difficult to implement gratitude on a daily basis. If you need help staying on the appreciation train, or if you are new to this way of expression, here are some helpful gratitude exercises to try out.

  • Keep A Gratitude Journal – Making it a routine to journal every day about what you are grateful for is a perfect way to stay on track. Psychologist, like Sonja Lyubomirsky, say that gratitude journaling can increase energy levels and reduce stress.
  • Read Something Positive Every Day – Doing this can drastically help pave the road to a positive and thankful mindset. Try to read something uplifting every day, preferably in the morning so you can start your day on a positive note. This could be quotes, poems, or perhaps a book that has inspirational appreciation content.
  • Write Thank You Letters – Make it a point to write a thank you letter to someone who made a positive impact on your life. This exercise not only makes the receiver feel appreciated, it amplifies gratuity and positivity within you as well.