Gratitude is considered the gateway of spiritual discipline. Not only is gratitude highly correlated with many physical and mental health benefits, but it is also directly related to spiritual transcendence. The continued recognition and expression of gratitude is an acknowledgement of divine grace and the unconditional love of us by the supreme. It fuels our spiritual growth. Gratitude expands the heart and opens the soul. It spreads warmth and heals all sadness. Learning to be grateful for and love what we have in each moment is one of the highest spiritual teachings, yet also one of the most difficult to achieve when we are at our lowest.
Living a spiritual life is in the humility and displayed in the simple, quiet acts. This is also true of feeling, expressing, and acknowledging gratitude. There are so many things we can find in our day to day life to be grateful for. Praying over your meal for the food you are eating, thanking the cashier at the checkout stand of the super market for their service to you, acknowledging your gratitude for your job and ability to receive a paycheck, telling your family you are grateful for them, thanking your car for running, seeing a beautiful bird in the sky – this list can go on and on.
By giving thanks to the universe and expressing your gratitude for all that you have elevates your consciousness. By elevating your higher consciousness, you express a greater freedom and experience an open heart. Your perspective begins to change. You also call on the universe to continue providing miracles, which are ever abundant, if you are paying attention.
Gratitude is a state of mind and a way of life. By creating a daily practice that acknowledges all that life offers, you begin to open your heart to receive great love and joy. Making gratitude a spiritual practice means finding ways of making gratitude a conscious, intentional, meaningful part of our daily lives.
The Science Supports a Life Filled with Gratitude
But gratitude is not only about spiritual growth. It is an integral part of living a healthy, balanced, and happy life. Starting every morning off with love and gratitude has been scientifically shown to cultivate an overall positive, happy lifestyle in many ways, which is why we have compiled a list of some of the top scientifically proven health benefits of the attitude of gratitude!
- Leads to Happiness: Just by incorporating a daily gratitude journal into your morning routine, you can increase your happiness levels by more than 10 percent! This overall benefit is the top reason that you should start today with a grateful heart, but everyone defines happiness differently. Luckily, all of the other benefits listed are the main factors for happiness, so improving just one aspect of your life can lead to a better, fulfilled life.
- Cultivates More Relationships: When we express gratitude, those around us can feel it radiating from us, encouraging more people to show gratitude for everything they have in life. Expressing gratitude openly boosts how much people trust you, leading to increased social interactions. These social interactions then foster deep, positive, and strong relationships because people are drawn to your good vibrations – and your perspective shifts about your personal relationships. All of these factors create room for new, positive people in our lives while strengthening preexisting relationships, including marriages.
- Improves Physical Health: There have been many scientific studies that have supported the notion that practicing gratitude improves your physical health in many aspects. To start, simply writing in a gratitude journal for a few minutes every night promotes positive sleep patterns and habits. This includes sleeping better, longer, and for those that struggle with insomnia, easier. When you sleep better, your body has more energy during the day, including improved mental functions. A combination of better sleeping patterns and positive emotions will foster a higher level of motivation to work out, eat well, and feel better. Basically, improving your mind and attitude will help improve your body.
- Boosts Psychological Health: Study after study has shown the psychological benefits of positive emotions, especially gratitude. The number one improved psychological benefit from regularly expressing gratitude is resiliency – which is tied to many other psychological benefits. The science shows that when you incorporate gratitude into your life, you develop stronger, more optimistic coping strategies for life’s hardships. This leads to being more open and accepting of reaching out to others for support and help, one of the biggest factors in overcoming difficulties. These skills that develop from daily gratitude are linked to lower rates of developing PTSD, increased ability to feel good on a regular basis because you are constantly grateful for your life, and the ability to recognize happiness and other positive emotions that are linked to your fulfilled life.
- Reduces Aggression, Anger, and Self-Pity: When you experience daily gratitude, you are quite literally giving yourself a shot of dopamine. This “happy chemical” triggers feelings of happiness and optimism, leading to us craving more of it – which in turn, drives us to enhance our life and performance that is linked to success. When you write down what you are grateful for in our journal every day, you trigger another positive chemical in your brain – serotonin. Serotonin is linked to enhanced moods (like an antidepressant) and motivation, leading to the nickname of a “happy molecule”. Ultimately, gratitude increases brain function, happiness, motivation, and willpower – and when you are living a life that incorporates these functions into daily living, you are decreasing your reliability on negative emotions that no longer serve you, especially anger and self-pity.
- Increases Your Chances for Success: When you are living a positive, happy life, your desire to succeed – in whatever form that looks like to you – increases. You start to have more motivation to work hard, to develop new skills, and to find ways to help others in unique and exciting ways. All these factors lead to a fulfilled life that drives success. Like the other benefits of gratitude, being able to reliably network and cultivate new relationships, experiencing improved emotional and physical health, and being more spiritually awakened will help find the path towards your ultimate success.
What are you grateful for today?