You may be at a point in your life where you feel stressed, anxious and depressed and you’re not sure exactly why? The menopause can throw a whirlwind of emotions and physical changes at us.
The good news is that practicing gratitude regularly has been proven to make you happier overall. Dive deeper into what gratitude is and learn ways to achieve happiness through gratitude so that you can put a smile back on your face and experience more joy overall.
What is Gratitude?
Generally speaking, gratitude is the act or thought of being thankful. It’s a way to show your appreciation for something or someone. There are several aspects that make up gratitude such as recognising what you’re grateful for, acknowledging it fully, and then taking the time to appreciate it. You can feel thankful but being more grateful is an action.
It’s not just that it’s assumed you’ll be happier for doing so. In fact, according to positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and time and again associated with greater levels and feelings of happiness. Studies have shown that practising gratitude for just five short minutes a day can make you 25% happier.
Reasons to Practise Gratitude
There are several reasons and benefits of practising gratitude daily. You’ll sleep better at night and will feel more relaxed and at ease. It might also help you better deal with tough situations and adversity in your life. You’ll gain mental strength and clarity and can better cope and deal with stress. Use it as a way to improve your health, build stronger relationships, and, most importantly, feel more positive emotions which help you achieve greater happiness. Being happy is important because it promotes a healthy lifestyle and may go as far as increasing your life expectancy.
Ways to Cultivate Gratitude
You may be wondering in what ways or how to cultivate more gratitude in your life. Be glad to know that there are many opportunities for you to do so throughout the day. For example, you can write someone a thank you note, thank someone verbally or mentally, and count your blessings instead of focusing on what’s lacking.
One of the most effective ways to cultivate gratitude is through Gratitude Journaling and writing down what you’re thankful for. You can review the list in the morning, during the day, and right before you go to bed to maintain this positive mindset. In fact, gratitude journaling may even reduce inflammation in people who have experienced Stage B, asymptomatic heart failure (Redwine, Henry, Pung, Wilson, Chinh, Jain, Rutledge, Greenberg, Maisel, & Mills 2016). Prayer and meditation are also well-known and impactful ways to practise gratitude and find more happiness.
It’s difficult in times of adversity to see the things to be grateful for but the importance when journaling is to focus on the small things in life too such as having a park near your house you enjoy to walk to, your favourite movie, chocolate etc. as well as the big things in life such as your family’s health, having a roof over your head etc.
Achieving Happiness through Gratitude
Robert Emmons, a leading researcher in this area, has found through his work and several studies that gratitude leads to an increase in happiness and a reduction in feelings of depression. This can be life-changing for anyone who is experiencing mental health issues or simply doesn’t feel very happy overall.
It’s hard to feel negative emotions or think negative thoughts when you’re focused on the positives and all your blessings. You may also change your perspective in the process of being grateful for what you have even if it’s not exactly what you wanted or envisioned.
Protecting Your Happiness
Once you have the positive vibes on your side and are practising gratitude, you want to hold onto them and not let these feelings slip away. While it’s not realistic to be happy around the clock, you can give yourself a better chance of feeling happier overall and being in a good mood on most days by protecting your happiness.
Be proactive and take steps to do so in the hopes that you can successfully remain happy and boost your mental health. For example, you can avoid comparisons and not always seek approval from others, not depend on others for your happiness, and try not to take yourself too seriously. It’s about deciding to be happy and then practising gratitude daily so that you can feel your best. Take good care of yourself and your mental health and you’ll have no choice but to achieve happiness.
These are some ways to successfully achieve happiness through gratitude. There are many benefits to increasing happiness that can’t be denied or overlooked. You’ll be able to better combat stress, live a healthier lifestyle, and improve heart health which will hopefully lead to having a longer, more rewarding, and happier existence overall.
Your Feminapause Team x