Studies carried out by psychologists specializing in neuroscience such as Robert Emmons, from the University of California, have shown that the ability to be grateful —that is, to recognize present or past situations from a positive point of view— is associated with feelings of hope and vitality. All their analyzes indicate that those who were able to put these attitudes into practice were up to 25 percent less likely to present symptoms of depression or anxiety.
But how can we encourage gratitude in all areas of our lives?
It all depends on the lens under which you view your present.
Practicing gratitude is not just about significant events. Remember that habit makes perfect. There is nothing too small, mundane, or insignificant to be ungrateful. Sleeping in a warm bed, eating a breakfast that makes you happy, having a healthy body capable of exercising, all of this is almost a miracle. Even negative events can also be appreciated, they are surely teaching us something.
If we are constantly looking for negativity and problems, the neural pathways for negative thoughts become stronger. But practicing gratitude can shift the focus of our attention to kind events and situations that we might otherwise overlook.
Just say: thank you to
your parents. To your partner. To your friend. To your co-worker. To the taxi driver. To the receptionist. To the stove repair Vancouver. To everyone who crosses your path. It is not enough just to feel gratitude towards life and towards the people around you, it is very important to communicate it.
Gratitude towards oneself
Cultivating self-esteem is essential to have a good relationship with everyone — and everything — those around you. Accepting yourself as you are, celebrating small triumphs, and appreciating your virtues will allow you to recognize those and other qualities in others.
The gratitude journals.
Many psychologists recommend writing down at least three things for which you are grateful at the end of the day. Regardless of the mechanism, taking a daily survey can be very helpful in starting to look at life in a more hopeful way. If keeping a journal does not convince you at all, choose to verbally share with your family (husband, children, parents, siblings, roommates) what made your heart jump with gratitude during the day. Anything goes. The key is to recognize it.
Generosity and gratitude go hand in hand.
People often take everything in life for granted, so helping others in need often ends up helping yourself. Professor Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania supports that theory with the research called Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Wellness. In conclusion? Volunteering improves our emotional well-being and our ability to be thankful and to accept how lucky we are, in many ways.