How To Bring More Gratitude Into Your Life
Gratitude has the ability to positively alter our mind, body and soul. Poppy explores what happens when we intentionally invite more gratitude and love into our lives.
Lockdown has gifted many an arduous reality. Whilst the trauma of the past two years reverberates throughout our lives, you may have already accepted that working from home and pandemic fatigue is here to stay. However as restrictions are lifted and life slowly edges forward, simple and compassionate techniques, such as practising gratitude, can increase resilience and invite more love and joy into our every day.
We all know that giving thanks is a positive exchange, it makes people feel good. From a cellular level to the way we think and feel, practising gratitude has the potential to improve our energy levels and reduce anxiety. According to recent studies, gratitude has been proven to be a beneficial part of your toolkit that positively affects our mind, body and soul.
When we meet life with gratitude, love and devotion, we have the ability to find acceptance in what triggers us, forgiveness in what has hurt us and strength in what has wounded us. Heavily influenced by the Yogic traditions of Bhakti, meaning devotion, my day usually begins with a dedication. Devoting my yoga practice and day to a person, idea or cause, with gratitude and love. Not only does this help me overcome blockages and feelings of resentment, but by offering thanks to another instils a selfless, devotional mindset.
For me this has been incredibly transformative way to begin each day, which, regardless of what is going on externally, helps me to feel more gratitude for each moment of life on earth. By committing intentionally, I have noticed a real change within myself; helping me to feel more compassion, empathy and foster a deeper connection to myself and others.
There are many ways to take this off the mat and into your every day. Below are four simple gratitude practises, proven by science, to enhance your mental strength and overall well being:
Keep A Gratitude Journal: Write 5 Things You Are Grateful For At The Beginning, Or End, Of Each Day
Gratitude is the appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to oneself, representing a general state of thankfulness and appreciation. Keeping a gratitude journal is a great way to reflect on what is happening in your life, whilst affirming what gives you purpose and makes you happy.
In an American clinical study that looked at the effect of gratitude on mood, at the University of California at Davis and University of Miami, two groups of individuals kept two opposing daily journals. One group wrote about things in their life that they are grateful for and the other wrote about things they were unhappy about. The results showed higher reported levels of optimism, attention, determination and even energy in the gratitude group..
Their results also showed that the group who kept a gratitude journal were more likely to help someone and offer emotional support.
Taking A Moment To Think About Someone From Your Past, Or Present, Whom You Are Grateful For
Psychologists have referred to Gratitude as a human strength and recent research proves that if you cultivate more gratitude into your daily life it can helping you feel more connected to yourself and those around you, reduce the feeling of loneliness, calm your nervous system and encouraging a relaxed state.
Meditate On The Gratitude You Have For Your Life
Meditation and a positive mindset can change you on a cellular level, The Telomere Effect by Dr Blackburn and Dr Elissa Epel, looks at a 2013 study of Harvard Medical School's psychiatry department. The work revealed that people who meditated daily, grew longer and more resilient cell chromosomes, whilst premature ageing is related to shorter chromosomes, this demonstrating an increase in health span.
A further study at the University School of Medicine in Ohio, neuroscientists studied the effect of gratitude upon our wellbeing. The brain was studied whilst individuals focused their thoughts on feeling grateful. With an increase in grateful thoughts, blood flow also increased to the hypothalamus, the part of the brain which controls a range of functions in the body, such as the nervous system, digestion and the release of happy dopamine hormones. Proving that gratitude increases mood and calms the nervous system, encouraging relaxation, better digestion and improved sleep.
Write A Message, Email Or Letter To Someone You Are Grateful For
Letting someone know that their thoughts, words or actions mean something to you is a powerful way to connect and elevating both your moods. By putting this high energy out into the world, has the potential to lift people out of periods of poor mental health. In a Chinese study researchers studied the combined effect of gratitude and sleep patterns on levels of depression and anxiety. Their findings revealed that by being more grateful, individuals felt less depressed and as a result slept better and reduced symptoms of anxiety. Try reducing anxiety and combatting insomnia by spending a moment to think of someone you feel grateful for and reaching out share your positive thoughts.