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What Good is Gratitude?

Gratitude is the mindset of appreciating things in life. Numerous studies have shown, and continue to show, that an attitude of gratitude enhances mental health, wellbeing, and general life satisfaction. Yet sometimes it seems hard to believe. Is being grateful that powerful? And, more bluntly, what is it about gratitude, something that can seem superficial, that has a positive impact on our lives? What good is gratitude?
Gratitude is a way of viewing both your inner and outer worlds as well as living your life.  Here’s an at-a-glance look at what gratitude is as well as what it is not:

With intentional practice, by deliberately pausing to appreciate something about others in our life, our circumstances, a part of our day, beauty around us, and aspects of ourselves, we begin to naturally shift our perspective. Rather than getting bogged down by what is wrong, we start to look more at what’s right. The transformation brings positive life changes. We find that we

  • can better cope with stress
  • might have anxiety or depression but can find reasons to move forward anyway
  • feel lighter, more joyful
  • have more empathy
  • are more determined
  • feel excitement in things
  • are more hopeful

Gratitude works. It does us good because it involves a shift in thinking and in being. Despite focusing only on problems and challenges, we also look for good things on purpose, and we take it a step deeper by being glad, grateful, for the presence of these things.
Some ways to hone the strength of gratitude include

  • journaling
  • reflecting quietly while coloring in a gratitude coloring book
  • Set the alarm on your phone, watch, or fitness band to vibrate hourly to remind you to pause and find something for which to be grateful
  • keep a gratitude jar in a prominent spot so you can write something for which you’re grateful and put it in the jar
  • play I’m Glad Bingo (click the link for a downloadable game board).

Gratitude isn’t a cure-all to make problems disappear. Instead, gratitude is a way of being in life that is positive-oriented rather than negative-oriented. Gratitude is a component of wellbeing and a life worth living.
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