Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Your Wellbeing- Improved with Gratitude

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” – Melody Beattie
Expressing gratitude improves your attitude (and your well being). But just saying “thank you” isn’t enough – From your heart you have to really mean it, although merely expressing it is a good starting point.  

Gratitude: The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

It can be hard to be grateful sometimes. After a long day at work with various trials and tribulations, sometimes when we get home we forget to appreciate the small things – Your partner cooking tea, or the kids bouncing down the stairs to greet you, your friend popping round with a book they thought you might like. Little things which we should be grateful for often get lost during the stress of every day life, but research has shown that if we start to notice and appreciate these things, we will also notice lots of health benefits;

  • Better sleeping, more social connections, improvement in overall happiness, higher levels of Energy, increased optimism
And are less likely to be;
  • Depressed, greedy or have alcohol dependency issues
(Taken from Melinda Beck of the Wall Street Journal)

One Method of increasing your gratitude is taking a step back and looking at the world in a rational way, i.e. is this situation really so bad/hopeless?  Often it is easy for us to get into ‘black and white’ thinking which means we can magnify our problems or discount what is good about the situation. 

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy offers useful tools to help you to get past disfunctional thought processes and teach you to see the good in every situation and challenge any irrational thoughts. A simple strategy I often recommend to clients is to question the evidence of your thoughts and ‘is this really true?’  This helps engage the more logical part of your mind to counteract the negative thought.

Random Acts of Kindness also increases your wellbeing as it helps you to feel good about yourself, and increases your gratitude as you start to appreciate that the “Little things” really do matter. This week is Random Acts of Kindness week- have a look at the website for more information and how to get involved.

The benefits are clearly worth trying.  Be grateful. Notice the little things, say thank you, and you’ll start to feel happier, more energised and optimistic. Be thankful for the effort people put in, and the things that they do for you. The more you notice them, the more you will learn to appreciate them, and in turn make that person feel more appreciated.

Returning acts of kindness is also another way to show your appreciation and gratitude towards someone. Maybe even keep a journal with a list of everything you are grateful at the end of each day, no matter how small.  Develop an 'attitude of gratitude' and notice the results!

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