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”.
16. Time Management
Wasting time was no longer on my agenda. Wasteful activities no longer took up space at my place! Instead, I dedicated and planned time for things that were actually meaningful for me. I was truly able to savor each moment of each day this way.
17. Cutting Out What Harms Me
My new practice gave me a lot of time for introspection. Not everything in my life was doing right by me. So, I had to cut out toxic environments and toxic people from my life, which was hard, but necessary in order to move forward in my journey towards a happier, better me.
18. Positive Long-Term Results
This is still my daily practice because it continues to amaze me and provide me with amazing life and health benefits. I now give more than I take. I am truly happier because of that.
Final Thoughts on Gratitude
Developing a gratitude practice totally changed my life for the better. My cognition, mood, and health have improved exponentially in a short amount of time. Overall, I am much happier. I will continue this daily practice throughout life because it has been so great and radically life-changing.
I also learned so much through this practice. If you are seeking healing or renewal, I strongly encourage you to do the same. Consider starting by journaling 5 things you are thankful for from your day. This practice can soon become a habit with dedication and repetition.
Each time I choose to focus on the things I have, I light up internally. Every time I focus on what I can do for others, stress lifts off of me and I am so much lighter. This practice has been so wonderful that I recommend it to all of my friends and family. It does not have to be done alone, but can be a great way for family and friends to grow close to one another.
I typically write in my journal at night; that way, I can reflect on all of the happenings of the day. However, it is also a beneficial way to start your day. Each and every move towards this positive emotion helps me in the long-term. Dealing with stress or toxic emotions and relationships has become so much easier.
This positive practice can be a great way for anyone to begin their journey towards health or wellness. After doing this for just a month, it became a healthy habit for me that I will not give up. My relationships are stronger. I am stronger. My health is better. I just wish I had found it sooner. If you’re looking to start this practice, consider these exercises:
- Nature Time
All of these activities can help to clear your mind or at least get you in the right mindset to transcend any negative emotions that may have been holding you back from becoming your happiest self. If you are interested, here is how to begin your practice.