5 things you didn’t know about Gratitude that you can start today to enjoy your life more
If you are like most people, you are wondering how can gratitude help you sleep better, have more energy, improve focus and attention, manage your stress better or experience fewer aches and pains? I get these questions all the time because most people don’t think they can have these benefits and more, by simply practicing gratitude. I always say, ‘gratitude is the magic drug that you can not bottle’!!
Practicing gratitude has many benefits that will help you and here are five of them.
1.Gratitude will help you sleep better…
Yes, you heard me right, practicing gratitude improves sleep. Focusing on the positive, shifts your body from the fight or flight state (hormones released by hypothalamus), to more relaxed state. This response can come from thinking you are in danger when you’ve only forgotten to take out the garbage. Practicing appreciation increases the dopamine levels, while decreasing adrenaline and cortisol (the Stress hormones) allowing for a longer, and more relaxed sleep.
According to Dr. Alex Korb, PhD, in Psychology Today, there is a direct correlation between dopamine and gratitude. Hypothalamus is also responsible for secreting three good feeling hormones: Dopamine, Oxytocin, and Endorphins. Korb, points out that practicing gratitude, can keep you be healthier & happier, increase exercise patterns and frequency, improve sleep, decrease depression, and result in fewer aches & pains. You can enjoy these benefits, by simply focusing on the positive interactions you had at work, helping your boss or colleague on a project at work, or thinking about puppies or kittens.
2.Gratitude will help you have more energy…
You will have more energy by practicing gratitude and appreciation. Everyone knows a restful sleep leads to more productivity and a better outlook. However, dopamine, also affects your energy level. Adding gratitude into your life by simply actively being grateful, keeping a journal, or thanking someone out loud, you can increase your productivity. Happy people are more productive.
Researchers at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania randomly divided university fundraisers into two groups. One group made phone calls to solicit alumni donations in the same way they always had. The control group were assigned to work on a different day. They received a pep talk from the director of annual giving, who told the fund-raisers, she was grateful for their efforts. During the following week, the university employees who heard the director of annual giving message of gratitude, made 50% more fundraising calls than those who did not.
Gratitude increases your productivity and ENERGY.
3.Gratitude can help you manage your stress more effectively…
Appreciating what you already have, instead of focusing on what you don’t have, will create a dramatic shift in your energy and how you manage your stress. Stress is a major drain on your energy. Appreciating where you are and what you have, is the greatest step on personal development, to help you meet your goals and recognize your potential.
By practicing gratitude for people, things and environment around you, you allow your body’s natural responses to stress, to do its magic. Shifting your perspective from ‘what’s wrong’ to ‘what’s going right’ leading you to look for reasons to be grateful.
One of my clients who did not get the promotion he wanted, was very upset at first through a bitter scope. He recognized these stressful emotions, were increasing his adrenaline and cortisol levels. After our conversation, he started to relax. He started focusing on some aspects in his current position that were going well. This response increased his dopamine level, shifting his perspective. You could even think puppies and good morning texts to increase your dopamine levels. Dopamine creates feelings of satisfaction, pleasure and reward, which motivates you to repeat a specific ‘good feeling’ behavior.
4.Gratitude can help you experience fewer aches and pains…
You too, can experience fewer aches and pains by practicing Gratitude. Researchers found that adults writing in a gratitude journal, even once a week, was helpful. The participants experienced: Improved optimism, better sleep, improved exercise patterns, lower levels of anxiety and depression, and reductions in physical ailments for fewer aches and pains.
In another study, spouses kept a journal of the changes they saw in their ailing partners. Those who practiced gratitude, had fewer aches and an improved outlook, just after two weeks!! I was amazed, that even their partners could notice the difference without knowing what they were writing in their journals each day.
5.Gratitude will improve your focus and attention…
Practicing gratitude, is related to 23 percent lower levels of stress hormones (cortisol), and an increase of dopamine levels. Thinking kittens, puppies and sunsets, will enhance feelings of abundance in life and satisfaction to increase.
A study in 2013, looked at young adults who practiced writing daily gratitude journals, found these young adults experienced increased determination, improved focus and attention, improved enthusiasm, and had more energy. This study demonstrated that junior high school students who report higher levels of gratitude, also report higher academic achievement. I am sure if it is helpful to teenagers, you and I can benefit from gratitude and appreciation. 😊
Higher levels of gratitude, appreciation, and academic achievement often enhances happiness. The relationship between gratitude and academic achievement among junior school students, simply put means, grateful students get better grades. Wow, this is amazing! 👍
In summary, practicing gratitude and appreciation or writing in your gratitude journal, will lower your stress hormones and increase the ‘good feeling’ hormones. This can impact how well you sleep, feel more energetic, and improve your focus and attention. It will also help improve workplace culture, and increase productivity and innovation!