5 Ways to Use Gratitude to Improve Your Attitude (And Health)

In our fast-paced, competitive culture, we tend to notice and worry about what’s lacking in our lives. Because of our drive to succeed, we focus on what stands in our way. We tune in to the things we don’t have — material items, body type, status, money, perfect relationships. But when we view our world from this perspective, we set ourselves up to measure our worth by our deficits rather than our successes.

Feelings of insufficiency, imperfection and envy are known barriers to happiness. When we harbor these feelings, we limit our capacity for feeling happy and fulfilled.

Although we often strive to find happiness and success by working toward that which we covet, research shows that this approach may be holding us back. It’s actually the practice of noticing and appreciating what we already have that will bring more happiness.

Feeling gratitude for what’s going well in life has a remarkable impact on how we feel about ourselves and the world around us. Indeed, positive psychology research demonstrates that gratitude is strongly associated with greater happiness and fulfillment.

Gratitude has powerful effects on health and well-being

Research shows that gratitude has powerful effects on physical health, social relationships, and self-worth. Experiencing gratitude also builds the mental and physical resilience needed to overcome life’s stresses and challenges.

Robert Emmons, a leading researcher on the effects of gratitude, has conducted decades of research showing that gratitude improves both physical and psychological well-being. Emmons has studied people of all ages to demonstrate the wide-reaching impact of gratitude on the human experience — on our personal satisfaction, social connectedness and physical health.

Emmons has found that people who regularly practice gratitude report higher levels of positive emotions, including more joy, pleasure, happiness, and optimism. These people also tend to have stronger social relationships and fewer feelings of isolation —> Read More