The Benefits of Practising Gratitude
Gratitude is important because it tethers us to reality, grounds us, and reminds us of the interconnectedness and interdependence of the world around us. Practising gratitude can not only help to alleviate feelings of fear and scarcity, but bring us peace, happiness, and thanks for the things we do have in our lives.
As one of the best lifestyle retirement villages in Auckland, we are dedicated to the health and happiness of our residents. In this article, we talk about the wellbeing benefits of practising gratitude on a regular basis, explaining a few tips to get started. Read on and learn how to appreciate independent senior living to the fullest!
The Emotional Benefits of Gratitude
An ‘attitude of gratitude’ can have a big impact on our emotional health and wellbeing. In fact, practising gratitude for just 5 minutes a day can have positive long-term effects on our happiness and make us feel more positive about our lives. One study showed that even just writing a few positive sentences a week will produce impactful results.
Gratitude can also have an impressive effect on our psychological wellbeing and help to improve our self-esteem. This is because it helps us to focus on the good in our lives, rather than to envy for what we lack. Through this, we can feel better about our circumstances, which in turn, can help us to feel more positively about ourselves.
Gratitude Improves Relationships & Opens Doors
Just as gratitude helps us to balance and improve our emotions, happiness, and positivity, giving us a better relationship with ourselves, so too, does it help us to nurture, maintain, and strengthen our relationships with others. Understanding and acceptance are key points to developing healthy relationships, whether that’s creating more satisfying, closer romantic relationships, friendships, or even encourage us to be better, more helpful co-workers.
The more you practice gratitude, the easier it is to put things in perspective and see things from another person’s point of view. On top of this, a person who lives a life of gratitude is not only likely to have decreased levels of stress and depression, but also to have access to more social support to help them through difficult times when they need it.
Promotes an Outlook of Optimistic
Another thing that gratitude has been found to impact is how optimistic we are. For many, incessant worrying and thinking about the negative things in our day comes much more easily to us than thinking about the positives. Through regularly practising simple gratitude exercises, such as journaling, we can help ourselves find more to be grateful for, and therefore in the long term, can change our perspective to one that thinks more optimistically.
Gratitude Reduces Envy, Aggression, and Improves Empathy
Because gratitude embraces empathy practices and promotes a more understanding outlook on people, it also helps reduce our human tendency to compare ourselves to others and consequently, envy them. Grateful people are also more likely to act with kindness and less likely to respond with aggression, even when receiving negative feedback. This is because they can more easily stay calm in tough moments which allows them to think more clearly and offer a calm response rather than a reactionary one.
Improved Physical Wellbeing
Gratitude can also assist in improved physical wellbeing, such as decreasing stress, symptoms of depression, and reducing blood pressure. Gratitude practices can also be used to improve the quality of sleep a person experiences, as it promotes a peaceful and calming attitude.
Tips to Practising Gratitude
Before we can begin to feel grateful for something, we need to let ourselves stop and be in the moment, to realise that “It” is really happening. The proverbial “It” could be anything from a beautiful sunny day or a nice cup of coffee to acknowledging the kind words or the helping hand of another. To feel grateful, we need that initial step and the mindfulness it requires. Remembering, stopping, and noticing, are all essential steps when it comes to practising gratitude.
It’s the little changes in our lives that make the most difference. Below we list five ways you can start practising gratitude in your everyday life.
- Accept each day. Remind yourself that each day is a gift and a new opportunity to be kind, improve, and make a difference for the better.
- Keep a gratitude journal. You can do this in the morning, the evening, or any time that works for you! By consistently writing down the things you feel grateful for, you can help focus your mind on the good, and veer away from the ease of worrying. Doing this consistently over time will definitely help you feel a difference in your day-to-day mood.
- Write a note or letter to someone. Whether you send it or keep it to yourself, a letter of gratitude to someone you appreciate or even to someone who hurt you in the past can be a very healing practice, helping you let go of past resentments and allowing you to focus on the gifts of a situation.
- Appreciate the beauty of nature. Appreciating the beauty of nature is one of the best ways to feel at peace with ourselves. Take a walk outside and enjoy the warmth of the sun, the smell of the flowers, the crisp breeze on your skin, or the ground beneath your feet. If you can appreciate the vitalising effects of rain in a garden, and the cosiness of listening to the pitter-patter on the rooftop of your home, even wet weather can be enjoyable.
- Appreciate the beauty in others and pay compliments. Giving happiness to others in the form of kind and respectful compliments is one of the best ways to brighten not only another person’s day but your own as well.
Gratitude Practices are for Everyone
No matter what your age, gratitude is a practice that everyone can benefit from. It’s the little steps we take every day that makes the biggest difference. At Fairview Lifestyle Village, your happiness is our priority. If you’re a resident living in our Albany retirement village, you can easily bring gratitude practices into your life by simply stepping outside and appreciating the fine weather and gardens. Our community events and clubs also make it easy for a resident to stay social and active, doing activities they love. If you’re interested in learning more about the opportunities available at Fairview, please contact us today and we’ll happily provide you with the information you’re looking for.