New research is starting to explore how gratitude works to improve our physical and mental health.
Developing an ‘attitude of gratitude’ is one of the simplest ways to improve your satisfaction with life. Just taking a few minutes a day to reflect on the things you are thankful can improve well-being, physical health, and mind states.
What is Gratitude?
Gratitude is a spontaneous feeling but, increasingly, research demonstrates its value as a practice—that is, making conscious efforts to count one’s blessings. Research shows that people can deliberately cultivate gratitude—and there are important social and personal benefits to doing so. It is possible to feel grateful for family, friends, colleagues, animals, nature, and life in general. The emotion generates a climate of positivity that begins internally and extends outward.
Why is Gratitude Important?
Gratitude strengthens relationships, and its roots run deep in evolutionary history—emanating from the survival value of helping others and being helped in return. Studies show that specific areas of the brain are involved in experiencing and expressing gratitude. Brain scans of people assigned a task that stimulates expression of gratitude show lasting changes in the prefrontal cortex that heighten sensitivity to future experiences of gratitude.
Feeling grateful boosts happiness and fosters both physical and psychological health, even among those already struggling with mental health problems. Studies show that practicing gratitude diminishes feelings of depression and negative emotions like guilt, shame, and jealousy.
Ways to Foster Gratitude in your Daily Life:
1. Keep a journal of or in some way note big and little joys of daily life.
2. Write down “three good things”—identify three things that have gone well for you and identify the cause.
3. Write thank-you notes to others or send text messages or emails.
4. Think about people who have inspired you and what about them was most significant.
5. Engage in “mental subtraction.” Imagine what your life would be like if some positive event had not occurred.
Share some Gratitude with Others who are in a Tough Spot
The 2020 Covid-19 crisis has been difficult for all of us, but for some far more than others. The extended period of time in alert level 3 for Auckland has put immense pressure on some of our most vulnerable people who were already struggling.
Don’t forget that you are already doing great:
Remember that your Ooooby order is also a force for good by serving your family healthy, organic produce, promoting sustainable agriculture, and supporting local growers and businesses.
You can also add a weekly donation to your weekly delivery for a little extra goodness! Your contribution will help Kiwi Harvest to provide delicious, healthy food to those in need throughout Auckland.