Scientific research says that one of the key ingredients to your well-being is your ability to cultivate gratitude.
Being thankful for the experiences and people that give your life value and meaning is associated with an abundance of benefits, which include:
- positive emotions such as joy, enthusiasm and love,
- increased optimism,
- increased acts of helpfulness, generosity and co-operation,
- a reduced risk of depression and anxiety,
- the healing of old hurts and emotional suffering,
- improved immune function and recovery from illness,
- lower blood pressure and better physical health,
- resilience and an enhanced ability to cope with stress,
- protection from destructive impulses such as envy, resentment and greed, and
- greatly enhanced life satisfaction.
But here’s the irony of this post. If you decide to practice gratitude simply for self-improvements sake, or the act of practising gratitude feels like it’s a chore, then the effects will most likely not be as strong.
The real benefits come when our appreciation of the world we live in, and the people that we share it with, is genuine, deep and authentic.
If you want to cultivate authentic gratitude, I suggest you start with thinking, writing about or expressing with another, your admiration for:
- the small, everyday things in life that bring us richness, love or joy,
- the miraculous universe we live in,
- the deep connectedness that we share with others and have with all living things,
- the kindness, thoughtfulness and warmth experienced from someone around us, or
- the inspiration we receive from others to share and spread this kindness.
At its core, I think that cultivating authentic gratitude within our lives comes down to a choice.
A choice that has nothing to do with your actual life circumstances, and everything to do with how you choose to interpret both the world, and the people that you share it with.