Wellness Matters

Gratitude: Five Easy Steps to Better Living

November 21, 2016

There are many frustrating things in life, such as deadlines, long lines or unexpected expenses. In our modern society of immediacy and materialism, stress can overwhelm us and makes us feel out of control.

These daily feelings of anxiety and helplessness can take a toll on our health. We can combat these negative effects through exercise and diet, which are certainly beneficial. But what else can we do to bring inner peace and escape the turmoil in our lives?

Being grateful.

Gratitude is a way of making the good things in your life more visible. It means to be thankful and willing to show appreciation and to return kindness. The list of potential benefits of gratitude is endless, including:
  • Less physical pain 
  • Improved attitude toward work 
  • Greater self-confidence 
  • Fewer intellectual biases. 

There are five more ways that gratitude can change our lives for the better.
  1. Better health. Studies have shown that when people recognize things they are thankful for, they feel better both mentally and physically. 
  2. Better sleep. Those who express gratitude sleep better and longer than those who do not. 
  3. Empathy. Gratitude motivates people to express sensitivity and concern for others while lowering aggression. 
  4. Resiliency. Individuals with chronic physical or mental disorders who keep reminders of what they are thankful for have a greater sense of well-being and more positive moods. 
  5. Self-esteem. Showing gratitude increases positive feelings about yourself. 

How can we remind ourselves to be more grateful?
  • Accept a kind gesture or gift and say thank you. 
  • Keep a journal. Write down a few things each day you are thankful for. 
  • Keep reminders accessible. Place notes or objects that elicit feelings of gratefulness where you will see them throughout your day 
  • Remember. Review your personal records and photographs to reconnect with your life’s journey to reconnect with whom you’ve loved, what you learned and where you’ve been

Gratefulness can provide peace and comfort. It allows us to shake the desire to fill a void with new material. It helps us love our neighbors and help those among us who are in need. Best of all, it helps us feel better about ourselves both physically and mentally. What are you grateful for?

About the Author

Kitty Stafford, RN, BSN, MHA, BC
Nursing Director, Adult Services
Behavioral Health Services


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