The Art of Gratitude

Taking a moment to acknowledge the good can make everything seem a little better.

Gratitude is something that many people fail to practice. Every day you can hear a glimpse of a conversation and hear someone complaining about some circumstance or another. Usually it is a small inconvenience upon their life. It is very easy to complain about every bad thing in life, but many people find it very difficult to be grateful for all the small things in life. There are so many people in this world that are worse off than you are right now. Even the fact that you have access to technology to read this article right now is something you probably took for granted. Everyone has something to be grateful for and many people forget to acknowledge all the good things in their life. People like to focus on the bad things; it is more interesting than the good things. 

If you were to flip on a news channel right now, you would likely be faced with a story about something bad happening in the world or about how some household item could kill you. Our world enjoys complaining, focusing on the negative and taking pity on themselves for every small obstacle in their way. There is no greater complainer than the average human. I can admit that I too indulge in complaining about a person in my life that causes me some discomfort or a minor inconvenience that happened throughout my day. It is very easy to find all the bad things in your day and ramble on and on for hours. It is proven that complaining has a negative effect on your brain, because of the release of a stress hormone called cortisol. Complaining has been proven as a link to decrease in immune system function, increased blood pressure, increase chance of heart disease, increase in anxiety, depression and stress and many more negative effects on your health. By focusing on the negative, we are convincing our minds that our life really is all bad. Trying to limit this can severely help your health.

Cutting back on complaints is sure to improve your mental health, but an even bigger step to improvement is a daily expression of gratitude. It is much harder to find the good things in your life, but most good things are often taken for granted. Anything as simple as the roof over your head or the food on your table is often something that we take for granted. There are so many things that are in our average lives that we can be grateful for. Gratitude has been proven to improve our brain and bodily health. Expressing gratitude has been linked to an improvement in sleep, regulating appetites, decreased pain levels, reduced stress levels, reduced anxiety and depression, and many other improvements on our health and well being. By simply expressing something that you are grateful for every day, you can improve your health. My favorite way to do this is keeping a gratitude journal. At the end of every day, I take out my gratitude journal and write down a couple things that I am grateful for. Some days it is really difficult to think so something that I was truly grateful for, but some days it is very, very easy. I could be grateful for the weather, my family and friends, the roof over my head, or a whole host of things. 

By simply expressing something you are grateful for every day, even though it may be difficult, and reducing your complaints, you can drastically improve your mental state. Taking time to look at how many different privileges you take for granted can make small bad things that can happen in your day disappear. It is very easy to forget all the good things happening in your life when there are also many bad things happening, and taking a moment to acknowledge the good can make everything seem a little better.  

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The Art of Gratitude
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