Generally speaking, when you practice gratitude on a regular basis you tend to have much more of an optimistic, upbeat outlook on life. You exude a positive energy, are more open, calm, and accepting. You often can see the bigger picture and keep things in a more manageable perspective. Simply put, it changes how you view things, how you respond to things, and how you look at things overall.
Perhaps you have experienced this firsthand or know someone who has. If you have ever been there yourself, you know it feels good. And if you have not personally been there, you likely know someone who has and thus you may have experienced what it is like just to be around them when they are in that deep seated state of gratitude…even just to be around someone living in a place of gratitude feels really good.
Those “side effects” or benefits of gratitude in and of themselves are pretty amazing, but they aren’t the only benefits of practicing gratitude regularly. Studies have shown gratitude opens the door to more relationships, improves our physical and psychological health, enhances our empathy, reduces our aggression, helps us sleep better, improves self-esteem and increases mental strength. For more detail on the study, check out this article.
Other research has cited benefits such as feeling happier, makes us more giving, enhances optimism, improves decision-making, reduces overall stress, helps to lower blood pressure, reduces depressive symptoms, and more. Read more on these studies here.
So, whether you choose to practice gratitude on your yoga mat, at home, at work, in your community, the important thing is that we practice it. The benefits far outweigh any reason we might come up with to not develop a simple gratitude practice. Now more than ever we need the benefits of gratitude in our lives…for ourselves and everyone around us. Even if it is a few seconds every morning when you wake up or every night as your head touches your pillow, say thank you for something or someone…make it a habit and see how it begins to transform your life. Namaste.