How and Why Gratitude Works

What exactly is gratitude and how does it work?

Gratitude is simply a feeling of sincere and heartfelt appreciation for something or someone.  Gratitude can lead to acts of kindness and may be expressed in a multitude of ways.  The causal effects of a thankful mindset have been scientifically proven to have profound psychological and physiological consequences.

Whether you start the practice of writing regularly in a gratitude journal or simply practice thinking grateful thoughts each day upon waking, these practices can immediately put you in a positive state of mind.  It doesn't matter if you are thankful for the same things each day - what's important is that you are expressing gratitude for everything in your life, from your health, your relationships, your job or business, your pets, your creative abilities, or your car that gets you to where you need to go.  Cultivating an attitude of gratitude has profound effects on your mental and physical states.

When you begin to show your appreciation to the Universe, to God, or whatever higher being you believe in, it seems to put into motion a series of events that attract more abundance into your life - and more things to be grateful for.

Not only does expressing gratitude elevate your levels of happiness and optimism, it also increases self esteem and productivity, leads to improved decision making, lowers stress levels and anxiety, helps you sleep better, makes you more resilient, and improves your interpersonal relationships.

How exactly does this work though?  When you are thinking grateful thoughts, there is no room for fear, anger or anxiety.  When you are expressing gratitude for the things currently in your life, you are not making internal or external comparisons.  You are simply expressing appreciation for all that you do have.  When you express gratitude, you become more peaceful and joyful, and tend to make better decisions.  Better decisions often lead to improved circumstances and open the door for more opportunities.

Conversely, when you are depressed, fearful or anxious, you tend to make rash or poor decisions that do not serve you or others well.  Instead of feeling thankful for everything in your life, you may make comparisons to others, leaving you feeling "less than" instead of whole and happy.

They say that on average it takes 66 days to form a new habit.  Why not make gratitude a new habit?  The benefits alone provide motivation and you have absolutely nothing to lose.  Gratitude can be transformational and culminate in extraordinary life experiences and boundless opportunities.