Counting Our Blessings: The Benefits Of Gratitude

"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." William Arthur Ward

No matter where we are, who we are or what we do, we all know how much life can be an emotional roller coaster at times. I talk a lot on this blog about ways to try and find your balance, de-stress and unwind. I'm not naive to the fact that these things are often very much easier said than done especially in today's modern world. Yet I still believe that all of these processes, ways to step back and re-focus are worth giving a little of your time and thought to.

The Benefits Of Gratitude

Most of what I write about is borne out of a desire to understand and find a better balance of my own. Sometimes I fail and sometimes I succeed but you know what, learning and embracing some of these things really is starting to have a positive effect on both my mental and physical outlook. So today I bring to the blog the very latest buzzword making its way around town 'Gratitude.'

Not exactly a new concept, but perhaps something of a forgotten one. This is something I've been putting extra effort into embracing this week in the form of road-testing a gratitude app (yes the app fiend in me couldn't resist!) and reading and researching various articles to find out just why this practice is deemed so very useful.

Want to know a little more about how this practice can help you to de-stress, find more contentment in your life and ultimately even make you more successful?

Well let's see ...

My interest was sparked in this subject this past Sunday when I came across the following article: Is Gratitude The New Attitude? by Anna Hart via The Telegraph. Many of the ideas I'm sharing today I attribute to this article so please do have a little look yourselves, this piece I guess is the first thing that I'm grateful for in my own week of truly embracing gratefulness!

Now pretty much everyone I know is grateful for what they have in their lives despite the ups and the downs and the rockier paths that we all sometimes come across. It's not so much about saying that we're an ungrateful bunch, more about asking ourselves to take daily steps to really acknowledge what we're grateful for in order to feel more in balance with the world around us.

 

THREE PROVEN BENEFITS OF EMBRACING GRATITUDE ON A DAILY BASIS:

1. Improved physical wellbeing. People who practice gratitude are known to be happier and more at ease with the world. Studies have shown that using a gratitude journal before bed can actually improve sleep which has a major impact on both your physical and psychological wellbeing. Grateful people are more likely to exercise regularly and take better care of their physical health.

2. Improved psychological wellbeing. As mentioned above, being more grateful makes you happier it's a simple as that! This impacts on your ability to empathise and leads to less aggressive tendencies and frustration. That old saying of taking time to 'stop and smell the roses' is exactly what we're talking about here. Gratitude enables us to remember what we have instead of dwelling on the negative and increasing our anxiety and unhappiness over the things that we perceive we should and don't have.

3. Gratitude can make you more successful. Whether this be in life or in the workplace, the benefits of reflection and the honesty that comes when you open up to being more grateful can have a hugely instrumental effect on how you pursue your life and how successful you are. Whether it be improved personal or working relationships, the ability to see things more positively and embrace them or the increased ability to reflect on failures in a positive light. People who are aware of gratitude are more able to see failure as a stepping stone forward rather than as an incident that holds them back.

 

THE GRATITUDE APP:

Well firstly I must say, you don't need an app or even a fancy journal to practice gratitude. Just a pen and some paper, a moment spent with loved ones reflecting on the highlights of your day or a simple moment to yourself to think about it, is perfectly suffice enough to get into this positive mindset and habit. That said, I can't resist an app and the Gratitude Journal that I've been giving a whirl this week is really quite a fun and useful little tool.

The Gratitude Journal App

It doesn't actually have the best of reviews on the app store, and I tinkered for a while with the idea of downloading a slightly more expensive one that had a much better rating but it just didn't look quite as user friendly to me. So I went with this one, the original gratitude app apparently, and I've actually found it a real pleasure to use. 

You simply note down throughout the day the things that you've been grateful for, whether that be something as simple as enjoying your cheese sandwich for lunch or something more eventful like getting a promotion at work - each and every positive moment counts. You can add a photo for the day and as you go on through the week you build up a memory of moments, events and just the little things that have really made you happy. Each time you go into the app it kind of plays these pictures and moments back to you in slow motion whilst you add your newest thoughts, a lovely reminder of the joy that you've already aimed to capture each and every day.

You're also able to share your updates with friends via social media if you wish, plus the app provides you with a daily quote to get you thinking - some of these are really great. Not the best app I've ever used but a pretty easy to use and wholly functional one. I like it, I'm going to keep updating it and I guess I'll see how I get on!

For £1.49, if you're looking for something incredibly simple and easy to use, that you can add to on the move, and if you're someone that likes to use apps to track your day in this kind of way, then I would definitely say it's worth downloading and giving a go. My only concern is that some of the reviews mention their journal history was wiped and not restored during certain updates. I hope this doesn't happen as it would be a real shame, but I'm willing to give it a try anyway.


A CONCLUSION:

Actively counting your daily blessings is an undeniably positive thing and something well worth doing. I like the idea of consciously thinking about the good in your day and not dwelling on the negative. It certainly seems to be helping me. I wonder what your thoughts are? Is this something you've tried already, or would consider trying to improve your wellbeing? I'd love to know your what you think.

Thanks for reading as always and have a Happy Wednesday!

Louise


FURTHER READING: 

Become Successful By Cultivating Gratitude - Reina Pomeroy