How Feeling Grateful Can Change Your Life

Written by Lifebook contributor, Olivia Ryan

Being grateful and happy aren’t always easy. Some days we get stuck in negative thoughts. For me, today has been one of those days. A broken-down car, more school work and bills then I can manage, and uncertainty about the future are only a few of the places where my mind is sticking.

It’s easy to concentrate on the negative, forgetting all the good in our lives. It’s simple to ignore the good that is all around us and dwell on the negative instead.

How Feeling Grateful Can Change Your Life.

Recently, I stumbled across An Experiment in Gratitude: The Science of Happiness on YouTube. It’s an experimental approach on what makes people happier. Through the course of the exercise they discovered that when you express gratitude for the people in your life, your own happiness increases. If you have 7 minutes to spare, just watching it will bring a smile to your face. It’s a son expressing his appreciation for his mother, a friend for a friend, sisters, and an older man remembering a mentor. I dare you not to smile. Can you do it? Can you watch gratitude being expressed and not let it affect you?

5 Immediate Results of Gratitude

While expressing gratitude is something you do in appreciation of the person whom you’re grateful for, there are immediate benefits to your own life as well. Expressing gratitude reduces depression, increases energy and productivity, makes life seem brighter, increases creativity, and inspires you towards generosity.

#1 Depression reduction.

Expressing gratitude shifts our focus from negative to positive. Hormones like dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin are released, which fight back depression. Psychology Today gives 7 gratitude techniques to help alleviate depression and explains more of the science behind this antidote.

#2 More energy and productivity.

Did you know you can boost your health with a dose of gratitude? According to WebMD, gratitude reduces stress and boosts our immune system, which leads to increased energy and productivity.

Gratitude leads to healthier choices when it comes to food, exercise, and sleep. This naturally leads to increased energy and productivity as well — and this energy and productivity leads to better problem-solving skills.

When I feel out of control I begin thinking about the areas in my life that I can control. I can style my home for success, I can conquer my writer’s block by writing an article for Like A Boss Girls, and I can put my energy towards reaching goals rather than dwelling on the negative self-talk that derails them.

Negative thoughts easily slip us into a victim mentality derailing our dreams. They send me crawling back under the covers unwilling to face the day. By changing my thoughts and focusing on who and what I’m grateful for, I find the energy to get up and face the day.

#3 You see life from a brighter side.

When I begin focusing on all the things around me that I am thankful for I begin to see solutions for my other problems, or at least how it isn’t as bad as I initially thought.

My car isn’t working. While it may be frustrating, it’s not the end of the world. I’m surrounded by good friends who will give me a lift until I’m able afford a tow to the garage.

School work is overwhelming but there are some great services out there, like, to help me get caught up and ahead.

Yes, things are financially tight, especially with that broken car, but I have a job and the ability to pick up extra shifts. There’s always the neighbor’s kids who need babysitting and, with a little more attention to my personal finances, things will turn out just fine.

Life is actually pretty good.

#4 More creativity.

The Link Between Gratitude and Creativity has to do with the ability to remember more vividly, think outside the box, engage with our environment, try new things, play, and so much more.

#5 Pay-it-forward.

Gratitude for others naturally flows into giving to others. When I’m focusing on the ways others have blessed me, I’m more inclined to serve others — whether it’s a neighbor or a volunteer role in the community. It gets me off my butt and increases not only my self-productivity, but also encourages me to pay forward the kindness that has been shown to me.

How to Feel More Grateful Today

There are some simple things you and I can start doing today to feel more grateful. It’s the small steps we take every day that lead us to our bigger goals. Expressing gratitude for others is one small step towards living a fuller life. Make an effort to add at least one of the following today, then come back and tell us how it made a difference.

  • Replace complaining with gratitude. The next time you feel a complaint rising up, stop and instead say what you are thankful for. What are you grateful for today?
  • Start a gratitude journal. Every day write down 5 to 10 things that happened that day that you are grateful for.
  • Tell someone why you are grateful for them. It can be a letter in the mail, a phone call, or even better face-to-face.
  • Surround yourself with inspirational quotes and thoughts. Put sticky notes on your mirror, hang inspirational thoughts next to your computer, hang pictures of the people you love throughout your home.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others!
  • Be present. Learn to live in the moment. Don’t dwell on the past or constantly be looking to the future. Enjoy the moment you are in.
  • Get outside and help others. Donate your time, donate items, and volunteer to make a difference.

Final Thoughts on Gratitude

A spirit of gratitude leads to peace of mind and an overall positive attitude. When we appreciate the people around us we become more productive and healthy. Our stress and depression are reduced. Our immunity gets a boost and we have higher energy and productivity. We find ourselves more creative, happy, and generous.

Gratitude brings success to our day to day lives. Joy is contagious and draws in others. Relationships improve through a mutual sense of love and support. When you focus on the positive and are grateful for the people around you, you will find they want to be with you more. People are attracted to a grateful spirit.

Gratitude feels amazing!


About author: Olivia is an incurable optimist who always sees the glass as half-full. She likes nature, knows how to enjoy silence and keen on writing for different websites. Meet her on Facebook and Twitter.


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