Gratitude- How it affects you and why it’s so important

With 100,000+ hits on YouTube at last check, you may have already seen this adorable video of the little girl who is given a paperclip as a gift.  Beyond being seriously cute (almost as cute as the little girl that rules my house with glitter and tutus) it has a beautiful message about gratitude.   It got me thinking, why is gratitude so important? It feels good and doesn’t take much effort, but what is it affecting?

The answer is a lot, and it all relates back to your happiness.  Here are some of the big ones.

Emotions- The direct link to optimism:  Have you ever worked or hung out with a Debbie Downer?  When that happens, have you noticed how that rubs off on you? This is because feelings transfer between people.  As a hypnotherapist, I use this all the time with my clients – tapping into a natural state of calm, focused relaxation to help guide them there.  The amazing thing is you can transfer good feeling to yourself with gratitude.  Because it’s linked to optimism, you can experience more joy and happiness each and every day with small gratitude practices.

Social Interactions- Improve your home life:    When you get home, spend a few moments making a mental list of the sweet things you partner does instead of counting the dirty socks they left on the floor.  Research has shown that people who took time to express gratitude for their partner not only felt more positive toward the other person but also were more comfortable expressing concerns about their relationship.

Health- Sleep better :   All of those nagging thoughts that rob you of your sleep have nothing on gratitude.   As it turns out, practicing gratitude can help you turn off your brain at night. One study conducted at the University of Manchester in the UK found that after only 3 weeks of practicing gratitude, participants had fewer ruminating thoughts and became much better sleepers.  They were able to drift off more quickly, slept for longer, and had more quality sleep.

Personality- Boost confidence and self-esteem:   Because of our brain’s negativity bias,  it easy to fall into the trap of negative thinking.  We’re simply hardwired for it.   The cool thing is you can break out of this loop when you practice even a little bit of gratitude.  So, actively focusing on the good – having gratitude for what you have accomplished, learned, or overcome – naturally increases your confidence and self-esteem.

Career- It’s good for your work life:   Have you ever worked somewhere where you weren’t respected?  The kind of place where you are overworked and underappreciated. It’s the #1 reason people quit their jobs.  Gratitude in the workplace improves focus, decision-making, and boosts performance.  Given the average person spends 90,000 hours of their life at work, why not let gratitude make it feel more friendly and enjoyable?

Want to cultivate more gratitude? 

Want to create more gratitude? No matter how busy life is, everyone has 5 minutes.  Use that time to write down one or more things you are grateful for on a daily basis. No fancy supplies required.  Finding that hard to do?  Take time to think over your morning coffee or even in the shower.  Remember three things  in the last 24 hours you can be grateful for.  Try this for 2 weeks and then notice what changes for you.