Gratitude is important in our lives; in many cases it is simply overlooked. It is a tool we all possess, one which cost nothing, takes almost no time and should make us feel good, if not the people around us. Cultivating this can be extremely beneficial and is something we should all attempt to do. According to research, there are quite a few benefits…
Benefits of Gratitude.
Gratitude is a great way of forming new relationships, when we thank someone, they appreciate it, and this can help to build new friendships. There is more likelihood that by thanking a person, they will go onto seek a relationship with us. It isn’t important what we thank someone for, holding a door open, or a colleague at work, offering you assistance. It is our acknowledgement of them, for their ‘good deed’, that can lead to new opportunities.
Grateful people, without generalising too much, are happy people. They tend to experience less aches and pains, are likely to take care of their health and generally live, healthier lifestyles. Exercising more often, while being more open to visiting the doctor, for regular check-ups. This is what I’ve observed over the last few years.
Feeling gratitude, teaches our body chemically, to understand what our mind understands. If we can signal our body to live under the hormones of stress, we can reverse this, using thought alone. We can neurochemically condition our body to work with our brain and mind, in unison. When we practice this, it becomes our normal state, leading to an overall increase in our well-being. Research has shown, we will gain an increase in happiness and a reduction in depression.
Empathy and aggression.
When we are grateful, being less stressed and healthier in general. It allows us to refrain from retaliating, when others around us may not be so kind, or offer negative feedback. Being grateful for what we have, life in general, empowers us to have more empathy for other people, with a decreased, or non-existent desire for revenge.
Being grateful, and writing it in a journal, means we sleep better at night. Making a note of the things we are grateful for, (recent positive experiences), before bed. According to studies, reduces stress, and worry, improving the time we are asleep and the quality. We also have a tendancy to overthink things, such a bills that require payment. Or something you said you’d do, that day, but didn’t get around to it. Setting aside five minutes before bed, and in this instance, writing a to do list for tommorrow. Aids us, in getting off to sleep.
There is a distinct correlation between gratitude and the reduction in our levels of stress, as we’ve discussed. Also, anxiety and depression, self-esteem and our overall satisfaction of life. We can all develop a more evolved attitude toward, being grateful for what we have in our lives, not what we believe we deserve, or don’t have. Gratitude enables us to have a more robust approach to dealing with issues, that might be causing us real problems in our lives.
It wasn’t until I was in a hospital bed for seven weeks, suffering with the Muscle Atrophy (wasting). The exaggerated progression and result of living in such an unhealthy manner, for many years. Being unable to walk unaided and taken to the toilet in a wheelchair. That I began to realise how bad things were in life, my mother was also feeding me. So, to my mind, I was like a baby at forty years of age. At this point I still wanted to drink alcohol. Other than being alive and released from the hospital, there was little else I was grateful for.
I’d not properly enjoyed life for many years, there had been some great experiences through my twenties, they however, were normally accompanied by large volumes of alcohol. I hadn’t really been grateful for much, that I recall anyway. Certainly not in the later years before I collapsed and was taken to hospital. Most of my time was spent at the pub complaining about life, with my new car on the car park.
Now though, I couldn’t walk, and when I did, it took lots of effort and hurt like hell. This was my rite; this was something I’d always been able to do, and I didn’t enjoy the fact that I couldn’t. It’s an amazing feeling, when you’re struggling at first, then it becomes easier and finally you’re enjoying walking miles, up to three times each day. Wow, I’m grateful I can walk properly, without help. This is profound, so basic, simple and yet so important.
The incredible response I have experienced in my body, to my change in mindset. The healing that has taken place, the lack of bleeding and the causes of it. That I don’t seem to have any signs of brain damage and the difficulty in balance, that was a possibility at one point. The enjoyment I get out of sitting with friends on a beautiful evening, drinking water, not alcohol.
Grateful, because I could go to a gym and exercise, although I’d lost so much of my muscle mass. That I have friends that were prepared to help me on this journey, to encourage me, introduce me to new experiences. I’m fit enough to cycle, both locally and abroad, loving and living life. I’m no longer the man, that gets out of bed in the morning feeling drained and anxious.
When I wake in the morning, I’m happy to be alive. Looking forward to the day ahead, being the creator of the day, not the passenger. No longer thinking, what time can I get to the pub and stop feeling this way. The interest in learning I now possess, something that was absent for so long.
The interaction I have with friends, old and new, the constructive inclusion in activities, without the feeling of, I don’t belong. Being fortunate to be Involved with charitable organisations and people.
Something I always I believe, took for granted. The relationship I have with my family again, previously, it was simply normal to me, having a healthy relationship. I am so grateful; we have had this opportunity to make new memories together.
I love to spend time around friends and family, while I enjoy spending lots of time alone. Something that I was never comfortable with, being comfortable in my own company. I’m grateful for the new relationship I have with myself and life, the outlook and lack of fear.
Being grateful that, I am no longer angry, insecure and stressed, hiding these issues, using alcohol.
Life in many ways, has become a cliché. I am able, to live in the present moment, with all the issues I suffered with for many years, gone. That I have the confidence, not to get in the way of me being authentic, no matter what society has to say about it. I love the fact, I enjoy food, eating many different varieties, in many different venues.
There are so many more things in life, I am grateful for, to be alive and living it, is fantastic.