4 Things You Need to Know About Gratitude 11


Recently, I have been trying to put a focus on gratitude again.  It is something that I really have to work at. It doesn’t come naturally.  But, the more that I work at it, the easier it becomes.  I am grateful for so many things. With September 11 yesterday, I was reminded of that day 13 years ago.  I was single, sitting at an office in Salt Lake, working.  It seemed that time stopped.  I remember worrying about my brothers, as they were constantly traveling for work.  I later found out that one had been on a flight during those moments of complete terror, but he was safe.

Gratitude

It seems to me, that in the moments of extreme stress and trauma, we are forced to look at what is really important.  But, it seems that those things slide away from us too quickly.  We forget easily and move on to the latest tv show, the newest piece of gossip, the next worry on our list of never-ending worries.

So, I have to work on an attitude of gratitude. If you want the truth, I have been pretty pathetic at this lately.  I have been really good at finding all the things that aren’t going my way.  It would be funny if it just weren’t so true! 🙂

So, in an effort to renew my own attitude, I want to share a few things about gratitude you may not know:

 

1. Gratitude can help you make friends.

Gratitude helps you become more aware of the things around you.  It helps you pay attention. And, when we pay attention, we are more likely to notice the little things about the people around us: the new dress, the fact that they missed church this week, or when their mood seems a little off.  When we notice these things, and then follow through with kind behavior, we are very likely able to make and keep friends. This is vital in developing good relationships.

Gratitude also leads to greater feelings of self-worth. When you feel better about yourself, you are more likely to reach out to others.  You are more likely to extend yourself and be a friend.  Pretty amazing stuff!

Gratitude Rainbow Uchtdorf

 

2. Gratitude can help you become more resilient.

In a recent study, gratitude was shown to help lower stress hormones in the blood and undo after effects of negative emotions. In layman’s terms, that means that gratitude can help you bounce back after a negative event. Gratitude can help you become more resilient (Source).

When you practice feeling thankful for the things you have, it gives you the courage to try again. You are able to pull yourself out of the doldrums of life and focus on what is going well.  Even in the darkest of moments, we can find a way to be grateful. Gratitude is not only for what we have, it is an attitude about life. We can practice looking at life and being grateful regardless of our circumstances. We can practice gratitude in our circumstances.

3. Gratitude can help decrease depressive symptoms.

In an article from Cognition and Emotion, research was done on people who keep a gratitude journal.  Gratitude journaling is writing down daily (or regularly) things that you are grateful for. Those who participated in gratitude journaling were found to have improved mood, better coping skills, and improved physical symptoms. Now, that is pretty awesome. Focusing on the good, and writing it down, can help increase our mental and  physical well-being (“Gratitude and Depressive Symptoms: The Role of Positive Reframing and Positive Emotion”, Lambert, Fincham, and Stillman, May 2011).

4. Gratitude can help you become less materialistic and less envious.

Grateful people are rated as more generous and giving than those who do not practice the trait. Those who practice gratitude can begin to change their perception from “getting” to “giving”.  Now, it doesn’t happen to everyone, or all the time, but there is a link between gratitude and giving.  

Gratitude also helps you compare less and enjoy more. When you are grateful for what you have, you aren’t quite so jealous of your friends. Jealousy and comparison are both relationship killers.  Even if it is never spoken, it can harm a relationship.  When you practice gratitude for what you have and for the friendships you are in, you are less likely to compare and feel jealousy with others.

If you place emphasis on being grateful for what you have and being willing to share, you become less materialistic and envious.  This leads to greater happiness and life satisfaction (Source).

 

I am truly grateful for so many things.  What I need to work on is not being only grateful for things, but practicing gratitude in whatever circumstances I am in.  

 Gratitude is a Choice Uchtdorf

 

Here are a few links on gratitude if you are interested:

Gratefulness and Friends

Grateful in Any Circumstances

Is Gratitude An Alternative to Materialism?

A Serving of Gratitude

Secret to Increasing Resilience

 

Are you feeling grateful today?

How does gratitude help you? Share your thoughts with me below!

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Elizabeth

Wife, mother of twins, speaker, and creator of Balm to My Soul.I love to write, speak, sleep, snuggle and, if I really get lucky, inspire and help others. I am clearly imperfect but determined to be a little better every day. Some days are better than others! Thanks for stopping by!
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About Elizabeth

Wife, mother of twins, speaker, and creator of Balm to My Soul. I love to write, speak, sleep, snuggle and, if I really get lucky, inspire and help others. I am clearly imperfect but determined to be a little better every day. Some days are better than others! Thanks for stopping by!


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11 thoughts on “4 Things You Need to Know About Gratitude

  • Reply
    Ana Lynn

    I’m grateful each and every day for my children and my husband, especially after what we have been through. That one single event changed my outlook on many things!

    • Reply
      balmtomysoul Post author

      Thank you Ana. I am so grateful for my hubby and kids as well. They have taught me oh so much!! Have a beautiful weekend!

  • Reply
    Amy Kelsch

    Hello Elizabeth!
    Your blog is lovely and so inspiring. Thank you for this post. I work on gratitude every day. It has helped me learn to appreciate even the small triumphs in life! 😉 I wrote about gratitude earlier this year. It is such an important topic. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      balmtomysoul Post author

      Thank you Amy!! I have to work on it as well, and it really does help. Thanks for stopping over and have a beautiful weekend.

  • Reply
    Lauren Tamm

    I too am a big believe in gratitude, Elizabeth. I often talk about how the fear of losing my husband at war changed my perspective on everything I am thankful for in life. Stuff is just stuff. People matter. I think a big part of gratitude in life is learning to change your perspective. While one person would see an experience in a negative light, another person would see it as a positive. I really like when you said, “Those who practice gratitude can begin to change their perception from “getting” to “giving”. ” My dad always said to me…”The receiving is in the giving.” Isn’t that such a great quote. He still says it to me every time I see him. I hope you have a wonderful week, and I will catch you later!

    • Reply
      balmtomysoul Post author

      Thanks, Lauren. I love your perspective on learning from the trials, and being grateful for what is most important. Your dad sounds like a wise man. I am always glad to connect with you. Have a good one!!

  • Reply
    erlene

    Great post. I think we can all improve on being grateful and I always remind myself and my kids when I here complaining. There is always something to be grateful for. Thanks for sharing on Merry Monday.