Many people have traveled the world to search for happiness. People go to great lengths and sacrifice many things in order to be happy. Happiness is important and this is why we justify the choices we make by saying, “as long as I’m happy…”
In spite of this, there are also more people today with anxiety and depression. These conditions cloud thoughts and emotions with darkness, inhibiting our innate capacity for feeling light-hearted joy and genuine happiness.
The more you think about it, the more expensive achieving happiness seems to be. Some seek professional help; others even also take medications to alleviate the pain of loneliness. People have learned to buy ‘happiness’ like a commodity by attaching their happiness to the collecting of ‘things.’
But happiness doesn’t always have to be so complicated. It is freely available to almost everyone on this planet. Human life may be endowed with challenges, but it is likewise abundant with reasons to feel joy. Feeling happy can be largely up to ourselves, irrespective of our circumstances. Practicing gratitude is vital to our feelings of happiness or otherwise.
Research on gratitude confirms that practicing it daily can lead to increased well-being and several positive benefits include optimism, enthusiasm, increased concentration, satisfaction, better sleep, and greater quality of relationships with others.
Here are other ways gratitude positively affects our lives:
Gratitude Enhances Our Ability to See the Goodness
We turn to movies and books to live vicariously through the lives of other people. But learning gratitude and practicing it regularly can teach us ways to celebrate our own lives for the innate richness that it has. Gratitude helps us to engage more with life and be more active participants of our very own stories.
We experience more joy in the simplest things. Gratitude sharpens our awareness of our blessings and inspires us to celebrate that positivity, causing it to grow.
Gratitude Boosts Self-Esteem, Increasing Self-Confidence
Gratitude can dramatically impact our self-esteem. Self-esteem is a key aspect of emotional health that determines how effective we can be and how motivated we are in achieving our goals. Grateful people have a healthy and balanced view of themselves and healthy self-esteem as a result.
They trust in their own abilities despite knowing that they may be weak in some areas. Weakness doesn’t keep them from pursuing what they want. They understand that they’re unique and can excel at the things they are good at without needing to prove their worth in everything constantly. They’re comfortable in their own skin.
Gratitude Enables Us to Cope with Stress and Bounce Back from Trauma
Practicing gratitude consistently helps us be highly resilient. Life isn’t perfect, and despite how gratitude opens our eyes to the immense positivity and goodness that surrounds us, it won’t shield us from stress, negative situations, and potentially traumatic experiences. That is, it won’t prevent the occurrence of these events and happenings.
However, it can help us make sense of particularly difficult life experiences, by gaining wisdom and learning from them. In this way, we see our struggles as a blessing that can strengthen us in the process. Without gratitude, pessimism can further impair our outlook on life, making us highly vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and trauma.
Gratitude Helps Strengthen Relationships and Nurture New Ones
One of the best aspects of gratitude is that it consistently reminds us that life is no island and we’re not alone. We need other people, and other people’s lives are fuller because of us. It validates our interdependence, which is what life really is all about.
People can be immense sources of joy and this is what the practice of gratitude reminds us of. Gratitude helps strengthen connections between people and make us appreciate the people in our lives more deeply.
Gratitude Inhibits Feelings of Anger, Bitterness, and Envy
People can be great sources of joy. However, they can also be sources of anger, sadness, bitterness, and envy. Let’s face it, relationships and other people can be one of the most emotionally taxing aspects of life. People can inspire us but they can also drain us so immensely. This is another reason why gratitude is essential, not only for our connections with other people but also in how we see ourselves in our dynamics with others.
It deepens our appreciation not only in other people but also in ourselves, limiting thoughts of envy, jealousy, bitterness, and anger. Gratitude is incompatible with these negative emotions and when we practice it consistently, we gain the strength to choose love, transcending these negative energies. We’re happier people as a result.