Attitude of Gratitude

Today I want to talk about showing the ‘Attitude of Gratitude’. I practice the attitude of gratitude on a daily basis and I find that it has greatly improved nearly all areas of my life.

We all show gratitude in our daily lives but what I am really talking about is ‘feeling’ it. When you say “thank you” are you just being polite or do you REALLY feel it? Neuroscientists have learned that if you really feel gratitude then you’ll be healthier and happier as a result.

Gratitude

A study published in 2015 Dr. Robert Emmons of the University of California and Dr. Michael McCullough of the University of Miami, looked at the physical effects of practicing gratitude.

A third of subjects were asked to keep a daily journal of what they were grateful for in their day to day lives. I share my thoughts on journaling in an earlier blog.

A second third of subjects were asked to write down daily annoyances and a last third were asked to write down their daily account with no emphasis on positive or negative emotions.

At the end of the study each group was asked to to reflect on how they felt physically and about life in general.

The gratitude group felt more positive about their lives. Also the gratitude group reported fewer doctor visits and were more physically active than those who wrote only about their negative experiences.

The gratitude group reported feeling more optimistic and positive about their lives than the other groups. In addition, the gratitude group was more physically active and reported fewer visits to a doctor than those who wrote only about their negative experiences.

Improved physical health

Other research has shown that focusing on being grateful and positive can produce real benefits. Your sleep quality can improve. Cases of anxiety, Seasonal Affective Disorder and depression can be prevented and holistically managed via feeling gratitude and journaling about it.

Levels of gratitude can make you feel less fatigued, feel improvements in mood and reduced inflammation, reduced risk of heart failure even in those who have a family history.

The mental benefits of gratitude

The physical benefits of practising the “Attitude of Gratitude” begins in the brain. In an experiment conducted by researchers at the University of California, brain activity was measured as subjects were encouraged to feel gratitude by receiving gifts.

The areas of the brain associated with moral/social cognition, empathy, reward, and value judgement showed increased activity. This led to the conclusion that gratitude supports a positive attitude to self and others, and a feeling of relief from stress.

Gratitude activates the hypothalamus as well, which regulates hormones responsible for many critical functions, such as body temperature, emotional responses, appetite and sleep. Feeling gratitude gives your brain a hit of the happy hormone, dopamine.

Journaling

Journaling is something that I practice daily and has shown to greatly increase your sensitivity to gratitude, enhancing the benefits. Here is the template that I use daily:

Today I am grateful for

Today I am grateful for

Today I am grateful for

Today I am proud of

Today I am proud of

Today I am proud of

Today I am excited about

Today I am excited about

Today I am excited about

Today I love

Today I love

Today I love

I am

I am

I am

I am

I am

Gratitude has lasing effects for all, improving self worth, feeling compassion for others, and decreasing feelings of bullying victimisation and suicide risk.  Also giving and receiving gratitude can improve interpersonal relationships with friends, family and loved ones.

3 top tips to become more grateful

Most of us experience times of hardship and stress and it might not seem that there is anything to be grateful for.

However, if you think about it we all have some things to be grateful for. You probably don’t have to look very far for at least one thing. It could be your career, family, friends, or even your dog.

Here are 3 tips to help you feel more grateful:

  1. When you look in the mirror, give yourself a compliment for a quality you like about yourself or something have recently accomplished.
  2. Keep a daily journal of things you are grateful for— More about this in my blog on journaling.
  3. Tell people in your life what you appreciate about them on a daily basis. This is likely to become reciprocal.

Embracing the power of gratitude, can condition your brain to be more optimistic and compassionate. The more you are grateful for, the happier you feel and by extension the more successful you will become.

Positivity can extend to those around you too. When this happens everyone is a winner.

How about sharing what you are grateful for in the comments?

Until next time, “Strength For Life”

Davie

Davie McConnachie

Davie McConnachie, creator of DMC Fitness and Dynamic Mind Conditioning, is an expert health and wellness coach, multi-award winning motivational speaker, award-winning gym owner, writer and published poet.

Athletically, Davie has competed nationally in MMA, Boxing and Thai Boxing, and internationally in kettlebell sport. Davie enjoyed the London Marathon, several half marathons and is a regular mountain trekker. 

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