Around AYJ, we like to think of gratitude as deep feelings of appreciation or thankfulness for someone or something in this moment. I stress “in this moment” because the nature of our existence is change. Changes in our thoughts, homes, feelings, climates, work, country, are happening all the time. And change can absolutely be stressful. However gratitude offers us the present moment, willing to acknowledge and celebrate the things around us that are fulfilling, heart-warming, and joy-bringing right now. Gratitude isn’t about what will be/could be. It’s just about what IS! Personally, I find this both relieving and grounding. Not only can I experience gratitude in a moment, I can cultivate gratitude for my living. While I can have gratitude for my friend doing me an unexpected favor, I can also cultivate gratitude for things within myself. I think this is important to note! Your gratitude is not necessarily dependent on external forces. You can be grateful for a new day, grateful for how you held that boundary, and grateful for your body that made a home for your beautiful soul.
Are there benefits?
So glad you asked, because YES! There have been many scientific studies done on the benefits of gratitude in the last decade.
Improved Self-Esteem: No need to play the comparison game here! Shine your light from within. Cultivating gratitude for your characteristics + quirks elevates how you feel about yourself. Grateful people can still appreciate the accomplishments of others
Get Better Sleep: Individuals who practice gratitude journaling in the evening report having an easier time getting to sleep, as well as sleeping better + longer
Strengthens Relationships: Expressing thankfulness for those in your life can boost your connection! They will appreciate you acknowledging their contribution. Additionally, gratitude makes it easier to form + keep new relationships
Improves Physical Health: Reports show grateful people have a generally healthier outlook + are more likely to engage in activities to maintain health. When you know what makes you feel good, you can do it more!
Increases Mental Health: A regular gratitude practice can boost happiness, resiliency + empathy. At the same time, gratitude can reduce stress, aggression + help overcome trauma
Here’s a simple gratitude practice you can try right now. Think of one thing you are deeply thankful for today (there are no wrong answers). Then, express to yourself why you are so thankful for it. Really soak up those good feelings, too! Annnnnnd Congrats! You have officially practiced gratitude today! Here’s to more gratitude in your life today and always :)