Being grateful has amazing benefits. But you better believe that it can also be a struggle to maintain this state of being.
Let’s look at some reasons for we should work towards being grateful more often. As well as some ways to get there.
To be Grateful.
Being grateful is about maintaining a state of gratitude. It is about developing the art of appreciating life, as it is, as it was, and as it may become.
Gratitude as I know it is multiple things. It is a feeling, it is actions we can take, as well as a state of mind.
The feeling of gratitude generally comes when a certain range of actions are taken and our beliefs allow us to be. But it is also a choice that has to be made. We have to choose to be grateful, without a decision for staying grateful it is much more unlikely that we will hit that target.
Not only must staying grateful be chosen though, but it also takes great effort to maintain. It isn’t enough to just say I appreciate the blue sky today. I have to truly feel it! Emotion needs to be invested in the gratitude, the more sincere emotion the greater the feeling.
A state of gratitude is a desirable place to stay as much as possible. Why you ask? Let’s take a look at some of its benefits.
Benefits of Being Grateful.
The benefits of maintaining a state of gratitude are many which make it an entirely practical thing to do.
In my estimation, the benefits far outweigh the effort. Here are a few of those benefits!
1. Better Mental Health.
In many research studies about the effects of practicing gratitude, researchers have sought information on how gratitude affects individuals mental health. But for the most part, these studies focus on individuals that aren’t dealing with troubled mental worlds.
In this study, college students that are set to receive mental health counseling are the subjects of the test. The results of the study found that from the practice of writing letters of gratitude for others, without even sending them, helped these individuals experience better mental health both 4 weeks and 12 weeks after the studies completion.
The results of the study suggest something of high importance. It suggests that not only does gratitude help people with rather stable minds, but also can help some individuals with habitually stressed and anxious minds find better mental spaces.
2. Enhanced Mood.
Emotion and mood are different, though closely related concepts. In one analogy a mood state is thought to be the overall emotional climate an individual is experiencing. While on the other hand, emotions are like the individual instances of weather activity within the current climate.
Therefore mood is thought to determine the types of emotions that will be experienced. So if a person is experiencing a particularly good mood, the emotions they experience will generally follow suit.
There is evidence that making an effort to practice gratitude regularly for about a month will have positive effects on mood states.
They say that around a month is a good amount of time because less than that didn’t have the same effects on our upcoming mood climate. So the longer gratitude has become a habit, the more likely it will affect our emotional worlds positively.
This, of course, isn’t to suggest that mood states that don’t feel good will be eradicated. But it can definitely shorten the amount of time we reside in them, and they probably won’t come around as often.
3. Increase in Emotional Resilience.
To be resilient is to have the ability to bounce back and recover from difficulties. It is being able to have difficult events roll through our lives, and getting through them with a little grace.
We don’t usually get to choose when difficult events or emotions come into our lives. But having a consistent gratitude practice around when trouble does come, is a blessing.
It will help us stay in touch with the aspects of reality that are working in our favor. Which allows our already amped up bodily impulses, to relax. Relaxed bodies are fluid bodies, meaning that our emotions are much better able to show up, teach us what we need, and move on.
4. Sleeping Better.
Practicing gratitude also seems to help individuals catch a better nights sleep. In a research study, it is suggested that 15 minutes of gratitude writing every night before bed can help reduce the amount of worry students experienced. It also helped them sleep better.
The more stress that is present when trying to go to sleep makes it more likely that we will ruminate over whatever is troubling us. Being able to reduce that stress by focusing on aspects of life we are grateful for is a beautiful thing. It will bring us down to reality, settle our troubled minds, and allow us to connect with ourselves and the present moment.
Ideas for Creating a Staying Grateful Routine.
1. In the Morning.
Mornings can be a difficult time to deal with. There is a reason people joke about not being human until they have some coffee in them. As well as for why many of us have trouble not pressing the snooze button multiple times before finally waking up. When waking up our resistances to change are working in full force.
But making gratitude a priority as early as possible in the day is a way to set our attitudes and ourselves up for more enjoyable experiences.
Want to start tomorrow off in a better mood than usual. Set the alarm a half-hour earlier than normal. Then and as you roll out of bed and set your feet on the floor, sincerely say thank you for another day alive. Then do your best to extend the mental effort to stay grateful as the morning goes on.
2. Staying Mindful to Stay Grateful.
Probably the most difficult aspect of staying grateful is remembering to do so. With all the internal and external distractions we face, it is easy to get lost in the chaos.
To stay out of the chaos and in a state of gratitude, we must stay mindful. We must stay aware of our goal to remain in a state where we are appreciating life. This may take many reminders a day.
Pay attention. When that thought comes that has you feeling like life this moment isn’t good enough, let it pass. Just breathe and let all the nonsense pass. Even though some “idiot” did something you can’t stand, look at some aspect of the world you enjoy. There are, of course, many to be found in any given moment.
This isn’t to say that we don’t need to stand up for ourselves when we can do something productive with our situation. When remaining mindful and practicing gratitude, we are very capable of seeking out productive solutions to our problems.
3. Share it With Others Throughout the Day.
In the recovery community, I frequent, there is a saying. It states “My gratitude speaks when I care and when I share.” Meaning that when I show that I give a damn about other people I see throughout my day, I am going to feel better. The same goes for when I share with those people what I am grateful for.
Sharing gratitude with others can come in many forms. It could be letting them know we appreciate them by saying it. As well as letting them know by simply showing up with a good attitude and showing respect.
Another form of sharing gratitude doesn’t even have to be done in the other person’s presence. By bringing the person we are grateful for into our minds and offering them sincere gratitude, we reap benefits from this too!
This can actually be a way to learn to be grateful for people our personal boundaries won’t allow us to be around. Helping to get over resentments that we may wind up poisoning ourselves over with anger that feels insurmountable.
4. Writing them down.
Having a gratitude writing practice is a great item to have in our toolbox, for feeling better on a daily basis. Remember above when I said that 15 minutes of gratitude writing over time can help a person sleep better? Well, it can be done anytime throughout the day that permits it. And there are benefits to be found whenever we give ourselves the pleasure of writing 5 to 10 things we are grateful for.
Just going over a list of gratitudes in our heads is beneficial. But writing them brings even more life to them!
Feeling gratitude does take effort. The more effort we put into getting into staying grateful, without being obsessive of course, will bring about more blessings, and more good feelings.
5. Before Going to Sleep.
When going to sleep we are going into a suggestive state that allows processing of the day’s thoughts and activities. What we do before going to sleep has an effect on how our sleep benefits us. Filling our minds with a feeling of appreciation for what has happened and what is coming helps drop the need to problem solve on our way to sleep.
Who enjoys that feeling of trying to work out the issues of the day when it is time to drift off into slumber?
Just thinking about what we have to be grateful for, can take our minds off of this problem-solving. It can ease some of the stress of the day, allowing a nice surrender into the void of sleep.
A Call to Gratitude.
Life is not an easy thing much of the time. But practicing gratitude can make life a little more enjoyable, maybe even a lot more. Life will still be life though, hitting us with unexpected troubles and problems to solve.
If we aren’t able to adapt to these problems, even greater trouble is bound to manifest. Striving to be grateful, can keep us closer to the reality of things, focused on solutions instead of creating excess stress from focusing on our problems.
With life being life, and us being human, with all the ambitious bodily impulses, needs, and desires we have, it isn’t easy to remain satisfied all the time. It is easy to become dissatisfied and resentful. And even though these states are bound to happen, to stay there is toxic to healthy living.
Look, none of us are going to be grateful all the time. Though isn’t being grateful as much as possible still something to shoot for? We don’t have to beat ourselves up if we don’t always hit that target. But to leave our gratitude completely up to chance seems like a waste of opportunity.
To wrap this up I will send you off with a mission. Take what you have read here today, please apply it to your life in the upcoming week. Use these ways and please experiment with your own ways to stay grateful as much as possible.
That is all we have for today and thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth. We sincerely wish you amazing success in spending more of your life being in a state of gratitude.
We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit.
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