The article “The Importance of Gratitude on Your Well-Being,” by Institute of Youth (Oct 2021) says that society has lost touch of the meaning of gratitude. As children we are taught to say thank you for gifts, whether we like the gift or not. We are also taught to say thank you when people perform niceties such as opening the door or serving us. We may or may not really be grateful for these acts of kindness and service.
The Institute of Youth says that the lack of gratitude in our society is understandable, because real gratitude requires reflection and stillness. They believe that in our busy and overstimulated lives people don’t take the time to slow down and reflect. They think this lack of introspection, impacts our overall well-being for several reasons:
- Improved Mental Health: Gratitude appears to be a key component of mental health. Brain scans indicate that gratitude helps rewire our brains for the better. One study found that participants who wrote regular gratitude letters had better mental health.
- Improved Physical Health: Gratitude has been linked with better sleep and immunity. Studies also indicate it may reduce pain and improve cardiovascular health.
- Stronger Social Bonds: Expressing gratitude to others helps build better relationships.
- Resilience: Gratitude helps us focus on positive emotions. We become optimistic and solution oriented when dealing with problems. It also increases our ability to come back from challenges or hardships.
It’s not hard to start practicing. Start small with making a list of things you are grateful for, writing gratitude letters and telling someone you appreciate them.
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Call a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to recently
- Do service for someone
This season there is so much to be grateful for! Let’s focus on positive things – like what we have – instead of what we don’t have.
Please see the Institute of Youth (Oct 2021) article for more information.