Research shows that being grateful is good for your health, promotes well-being and increases happiness!
Several studies confirm that practicing gratefulness, such as by recording feelings of gratitude in a journal, provides health benefits. Feeling grateful effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.
Practicing gratefulness and appreciation can:
- Make us happier and promote well-being
- Reduce depression
- Help us handle difficult times
- Help ensure we sleep better and therefore feel more refreshed
- Make us feel more useful and have greater likelihood of making progress once we have set personal goals
- Get us to focus on the positive and reduce negative feelings
Martin Seligman, known as the founder of positive psychology, has conducted extensive studies of depression, happiness and quality of life.
One project, where he studied the relationship between gratitude and depression, provided some surprising results. Subjects were asked over a certain period to take note of the positive things that happened to them during the day. They were asked to record this in a “gratitude” diary.
- These could include big things, such as the love they felt towards family members, or things they had mastered.
- They could also include small things, such as the observation that it was a sunny day, or that they had watched a movie they liked.
As part of the experiment, Seligman also asked subjects to record how deep their depression was.
His results showed that those who reported the deepest depression also reported the greatest effect!
Be more present in your everyday life
For most of us, life consists of both ups and downs. Our self-esteem can fluctuate from day to day or from situation to situation. This is perfectly normal, yet we tend to criticize ourselves for everything that we can’t manage, and by thinking negative thoughts about ourselves or our lives. Don’t let stress, bad conscience and negative thoughts take over your everyday life.
It’s easy to forget all the good things that happen during a day or a week, and there’s always something to be grateful for. Take note of what makes you happy, when you master something and what you like.
It can be something as simple as enjoying a good cup of coffee, going for a walk, meeting friends, enjoying a quiet moment or a nice sunset.
It sounds simple, but it requires you to decide to set aside a few minutes regularly to do it. This is perhaps where the greatest challenge lies–remembering to do it. The Mindfit app takes this into account, and the app sends you alerts to help you get started.
We recommend that everyone starts small:
- Begin by recording positive events and experiences that happen during the course of your daily life.
- This will help you to shift your focus away from negative thought patterns to a greater sense of mastery and positive thoughts about yourself.
As you begin to keep track of positive events, it is common for negative thoughts and feelings to be weakened–just by virtue of keeping track. This happens because you give yourself permission to shift your focus from the things you can’t manage to the things that you can.
That gives you space for other thoughts, and the negative thoughts and feelings shift more into the background.