By Dena Lynn
Most of us, at one time or another, have faced some sort of overwhelming challenge. Whether it be in business, relationships, or health – some challenges can take us for a loop, places where we don’t want to go… if we allow. We’re human – even the most seemingly, perfectly grounded person – struggles at times.
If you’ve been severely challenged or are presently worrying and stressing over a difficult situation – try showing a bit of thanks – gratitude – for all that IS working right in your life. And, build from there. Gratitude is powerful.
Did you know that next to immunodepressants, gratitude heals organ transplant patients fastest? The Mississippi University for Women found out in a study that patients who kept a gratitude journal scored better in mental health tests than those who didn’t, even when they started off at the same level of mental health. They generally healed faster, had more vitality and were happier.
It doesn’t stop there – those who are unwell are not the only people who benefit from an attitude of gratitude. The debate continues as to whether material well-being and happiness makes a person grateful or whether it is the other way around.
Tests were done where participants were all of the same income level, their lives were more or less the same in terms of satisfaction and happiness and their mental health was at par.
Some were asked to keep a gratitude journal and others were asked to go on living as usual. After 2 months, the people who kept gratitude journals showed significant leaps in happiness and well-being. They said they were much more energetic and felt that they got what they wanted. They felt that they traveled towards their goals faster.
What Is The Connection Between Gratitude And Well Being?
There’s really no single explanation, but there’s agreement on one thing: the more grateful you are, the more positive you feel about life and about yourself, and the more you achieve.
Gratitude helps you see all things in their perspective. In the past, when you’ve felt grateful for something or someone – did you see how suddenly that thing’s or person’s value swelled and became even more meaningful to you?
If you wake up and immediately give thanks for a great, blue sky, you’ll notice that the day seems much richer. If you give thanks for your spouse, your brain has a way of picking it up and making you see even better things about them and this makes you feel happier. Happiness leads to well-being.
Gratitude also makes you focus on the things that you’re grateful for and you therefore attract more. It’s the old law of attraction, which holds that what you think about grows.
If you’re grateful for strong, fulfilling relationships, they tend to grow and therefore you’ll be happier. If you’re grateful for a strong business, it will grow and you’ll feel more fulfilled.
Does It Really Matter Why Gratitude Leads To Well-Being?
You now know that it does, so why not start to practice it. How would you gain from being able to put your challenges in perspective, faster? I was able to start making positive moves to create the outcome that I preferred.
Yes, it required a time commitment. In fact, as a busy woman, fitting “gratitude time” into my day was very difficult at first. But, I found the time because it was that important.
I discovered that if I wanted to do it, I had to set aside a time for nothing else but “gratitude time” and my journal had to be in a place where I couldn’t ignore it. After awhile it became my habit – the first thing I do before I get out of bed.
I think about and write down what I am grateful for. The more grateful I am, the more I have to be grateful for – the better I feel and the more productive I am throughout my day. What a powerful way to start your day!!
I encourage you to make a gratitude journal. Plan it in such a way that it’s in your path everyday and you can’t ignore it. You’ll find that after days, even just hours of your first journaling, your perspective will be different and you will have given yourself more time to go forward and focus on what matters most.
© Dena Lynn writes a blog on living well through personal empowerment and entrepreneurship.