The following blog post is a guest post from the lovely Ralph Macey from SavantCare.com.
”If you are only going to do one thing to try to be happier, expressing gratitude might be a good choice.”
Gratitude is the key to mental happiness. Gratitude helps us to eradicate negative emotions from our minds and feel happy. On the other hand, a complaining attitude and grudge lead to irritation, negativity, anger, and anxiety.
Psychological benefits of gratitude
A few psychological benefits of gratitude are given below.
● Proper sleep at night
● Positive emotions
● High self-esteem
● A happy heart
● Fewer headaches
● Determination to fulfill goals
● Improved relationships
● Empathy and sympathy for others
How does gratitude help to heal from anger?
Let’s take a practical example here. Suppose you are a dedicated and sincere employee who gives her 300 percent at work. However, even after giving your best effort at work, you find that your boss gives promotions and pay hikes to your colleagues. You know very well that your colleague does not even give her 50 percent at work. She hardly attends the office, yet your boss prefers her.
So, whenever you see your boss or your colleague, you get angry automatically. Your heart is full of rage and anger. You can’t control your temper despite your best efforts.
As a result, you often lose your temper at work and end up having fights with your colleague. The environment at the office becomes negative, and everyone starts calling you a troublemaker. This creates additional stress in your mind.
You feel angry at the injustice. You feel depressed because you have a hidden fear of losing your job.
Now, if you change your perspective and have gratitude for everything, then you won’t have any hatred, animosity, jealousy, or anger in your mind. If you consider everyone as your teacher and have gratitude for them for all the lessons they teach you, then you will feel positive and have lasting relationships with others.
Have gratitude for your colleague and your boss, for they are teaching you what not to do in life. When you get power in your hand, you know what you will not do. For instance, misuse of power, preferential treatment, etc.
Have gratitude towards your colleagues who support you during hard times. Have gratitude towards them for the unconditional support you receive from them. Have gratitude for learning how to help others in their bad times. All of them are teaching you the right way of leading a life.
When you look at everything from this perspective and have gratitude for others, your heart will automatically change and heal. You won’t have anger, resentment, or negative feelings.
Anger is never good for mental health or physical health. Anger leads to headaches, anxiety, depression, insomnia, high blood pressure, skin issues, cardiac arrest, and so on. Gratitude helps to reduce your anger and give you fewer headaches.
How does gratitude help to heal from your depression?
Being grateful for what you have is extremely empowering.
Depression and anxiety in people have increased after the COVID-19 outbreak. Social isolation and pay cuts have aggravated anxiety among individuals.
However, if people feel grateful for still being alive when millions of people are dying worldwide, they will be in a positive frame of mind. They will have high self-esteem and empathy for others who are suffering in the pandemic.
Appreciate and be grateful for everything you have. Have gratitude for still being alive, watching the sun in the morning, having a family by your side, having food on the table, and having a job. So what if there has been a pay cut? You still have a job.
Many people don’t even have that. When you learn to appreciate the small things in life, your mind becomes calm, and you can lead a fulfilling life.
How does gratitude help to heal your broken heart?
A painful breakup or the death of a loved one is enough to make you feel sad, empty, and depressed. Grief swallows your heart, and you start thinking about everything you are missing in life. You can hardly say ‘thanks’ when a loved one passes away. And that is quite normal.
However, having gratitude for what you still have is one of the powerful ways of coping with grief and loss. Having gratitude for the wonderful moments you share with the person can be a healthy way to confront grief.
Being grateful for having supportive friends, colleagues, and neighbors can help you feel better. When you pay attention to what you have instead of what you have lost, you get mental strength to overcome your loss.
How to practice gratitude and heal your grief-stricken heart
After you wake up in the morning, note down the things for which you are grateful. For instance, beautiful moments spent with the person who is no more, lessons learned from that person, a beautiful home, an adorable daughter, a job, lovely friends, a cup of coffee on your table, a car, and so on.
If you start counting your blessings, you will find that there are so many positive things in your life. Death is a part of life. All of us will die. But how many people possess what you have? Moreover, the deceased person is always there with you in spirit. Isn’t it?
Be grateful even if you have one positive thing in life. On particular days, when your heart aches for the person you lost, be thankful that you can still breathe. Be grateful that your broken heart is still beating. These are a few strategies for coping with grief and loss.
Other ways of expressing your gratitude
- Say ‘thank you’ to your partner for accepting the way you are
- Say ‘thank you’ to your friend for helping you at odd hours
- Say ‘thank you’ to the waiter who serves your favorite latte at Starbucks every morning
- Say ‘thank you’ to your parents for loving you unconditionally
- Say ‘thank you’ to your colleague who helps you to complete difficult tasks
When you express your gratitude to people, you will see that even your enemies will become your allies gradually. You will get love and warm responses from people. You will have lasting friendships and relationships.
Gratitude gives you hope and courage to overcome complicated problems and fulfill your goals. Gratitude helps you to let go of your past, focus on your present, and advance to the future with a positive mind.
Whenever you face difficult challenges, say ‘thank you’ and rejoice over the fact that you are getting opportunities for forging new victories. You have to develop your heart like that. It will take some time, but you can do it.