It goes without saying that I’m no expert in this area nor do I have any formal qualifications as a Psychologist/Psychotherapist (much to my Mother’s dismay!) I was introduced to the concept of daily gratitude a couple years back and have loved the effects it’s had on my everyday life. Proceed at your own risk…
Super simple; wake up and write down three things you are grateful for. They can be big or small, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that you acknowledge things that you are grateful for in your life, in this moment.
Here are some of mine from last week:
- I’m grateful for having a roof over my head.
- I’m grateful that the sun was out today.
- I’m grateful for the time I had with my friends on the weekend.
- I’m grateful for my relationship with my Mum – the ability to talk to her about anything.
(You get the idea)
Sounds simple enough but what’s in it for me?
Glad you asked, fine sir (or lady)! By simply looking at things in a more positive and gratuitous light, you’re not only acknowledging aspects of your life that you may have been taking for granted, but you’re actually reprograming your brain to think more positively.
Sounds like some Matrix shit Ben. Will I learn kung-fu?
Unfortunately not BUT you could experience a number of other cool effects:
- You flood your brain with warm and fuzzy chemicals (reward chemicals) – these differ from the chemicals that occur after sex or 85% Lindt Dark Chocolate, instead your brain fires off a reward chemical which makes you more inclined to want to feel that feeling again.
- Assists with anxiety and depression – Not to be replaced with professional mental care recommendations when it comes to mood or anxiety disorders but research has shown a grateful brain could help with some of the symptoms of these problems (negative thought patterns and lowering of overall mood).
- Become more resilient to stress – people who practice regular grateful exercises tend to recover more quickly from a traumatic event or stress.
- Better sleep, anyone? – a grateful brain affects the hypothalamus (the part of the brain that looks after the autonomic nervous system) so it’s no surprise better and more refreshing sleep is a side effect of a more grateful brain.
- More positive emotions – it may seem obvious now but a study in 2002 showed that regularly grateful people seem to have more positive neurological traits overall.
From personal experience, this practice has helped open many doors and provided countless unexpected experiences.
It’s no surprise really – people don’t want to spend time with mopey bastards. If you’re constantly looking at things in a more positive light it’s no wonder people will respond more positively to you. I’ve had job offers, been asked to go on extended holidays to exotic locations and random nights out and I attribute a lot of these to being a generally more positive and grateful person.
Why not give it a go for a week and see if you start to notice any changes in your life?