The incorporation of healthy, simple daily tasks such as journaling may provide welcome opportunity to assess all that one has to be grateful for. The act of experiencing or giving gratitude can be extremely beneficial for one’s overall health. I saw my life transform in many wonderful ways as I began to truly explore the meaning and benefit of gratitude. I was also kinder to others because my entire attitude changed.
What Happened When I Began to Practice Gratitude
I came to a point in my life where I was not happy and could not figure out why. I needed a change. So, I began a daily journal where I logged everything I was thankful for from that day or from instances throughout my life. When I began using gratitude, a number of positive things happened in my life:
Increased self-awareness was one of the many benefits of my new intention to practice daily gratitude. Life sometimes becomes so busy that we begin to think only of ourselves. However, gratitude made me more aware of all that others were doing for me. I began to see not what I lacked, but what I was gaining throughout life. This simple act of journaling was incredibly revealing for me!
2. Shifting from Selfishness to Selflessness
My newly increased self-awareness made me want to invest more in those around me. Selflessness directly correlates with one’s level of happiness. I began to give to others more and more and then received a happy mindset. I even made new, strong friendships that I believe will be long lasting.
3. Sense of Community and Belonging
With selflessness came new friends and a heightened feeling of belonging. This closeness with the people around me and even with nature was incomparable to anything I have ever experienced before making the decision to practice gratitude. My new sense of community with humans and with nature also brought about a new and improved sense of self.
Starting to practice gratitude stirred up something inside of me I did not even know I had! My desire to be creative and expressive increased exponentially. The outpouring of artwork and writing was extensive. I felt true healing through my own art and through my own heart!
5. Improved Mood
Before I began to actively practice gratitude, I had been feeling really down on myself – depressed, even. However, my newfound positive psychology helped to ease and mitigate my depressive symptoms. Over time, I began to feel uplifted and rejuvenated, like a light had been turned on within me.
6. Emotionally Resilient
Practicing this positive and gracious way of living helped me build up internal strength. Certain things that might have set me off or would have irritated me before did not dissuade me from my enduring, positive state of mind. Ultimately, this optimism helped me overcome everyday challenges. This mental fortitude may also help one get through trauma.
7. Appreciating the Good along with the Bad
Life is not perfect, even when you practice gratitude. Even so, when I am confronted with negativity throughout my daily life, I do not see it as something that will keep me down. Rather, I see negative or difficult situations as opportunities or learning experiences for me. Moving forward is much easier now. Situations can be negative or positive – that is all for you to determine. I have now chosen to see the bad as something that could eventually lead me to more good.
8. Eating Healthier
More positive thoughts meant healing for my mind. Yet, once I began to feel better by using this positive practice in my daily life, I wanted to take care of myself on every level. I also began to put healthy things into my body and, in turn, was able to put forth even more healthy words and attitudes towards things that were going on in my life at the time.
9. Less Screen Time
Let’s face it – technology can be taxing (at least, for me, it was). In the past, I was spending an unhealthy amount of time on my phone or at the computer. This excess screen time detracted from time spent with friends or even getting out of the house and seeing the world.
10. More Time in Nature
Less time on technology meant more time for better, life-giving things. The peace and serenity that nature provides only furthered the other new benefits I experienced. For instance, my stress levels plummeted even further down.
11. Weight Loss
My urge to exercise and move around increased. I ended up spending more time outside and doing outdoor activities. Any events with friends or loved ones were likely to also involve some physical movement on my part. This in turn even furthered my connection with those around me.
12. Deeper Connections and Bonds
The friendships I had were furthered and deepened because of my new sense of awareness. I was now more engaging and enjoyable to be around. I realized that all of these people had a special place in my life and each relationship took on new meaning for me.
Grudges only serve to bring you down. Unconscious stress can still cause many problems. It was important for me to be forgiving in order to truly move forward in my own life and healing process.
I was definitely made happier when I started to practice gratitude. This happiness can be attributed to all of the aforementioned benefits of developing this new daily practice. I was more available and accessible emotionally, because happiness is such an important aspect to have in your life. I even saw my new mood becoming infectious. People around me were becoming happier as well!
During this time, I began also to encourage others to better themselves and look forward to their own futures. The compassion I experienced actually ended up helping not only me, but the people around me. A study suggests “happy people become happier through kindness”.