It’s no accident that all of the major world religions employ some form of gratitude in their rituals. It’s simply because it makes our daily life better, even if you’re neither religious nor spiritual. Gratitude is the feeling of being thankful and showing appreciation for what is in our lives. And thankfulness and appreciation are a pathway to a life of happiness and well-being.
1. You Feel More SatisfiedNot completely happy with your life? Gratitude is a lasting feeling that sustains you longer than other fleeting sensations. Grateful people are more satisfied with their lives because they focus more on what they do appreciate in their life. When you practice gratitude, you take time to appreciate the things that you’re thankful for in your life. And this means that you won’t be longing as much for what’s missing in your life, because you won’t pay as much attention to it.
2. You Motivate Others
When you say “thank you” to someone, they feel that you appreciate what you did for them, even if just a little bit. Saying “thank you” is therefore a powerful motivator for others to keep helping you again, because you are rewarding them with your appreciation. Have you ever noticed how it feels when someone doesn’t appreciate what you did for them? It makes you not want to help them again in the future because they don’t appreciate it. Small thank you’s go a long way, whether it’s a simple text message or a thoughtful email, you can never show someone enough gratitude.
3. You’re Happier
Grateful people are happier. They’re more in tune with what’s going well in their lives and focus more on the positive. When you actually count your blessings (I’m grateful for today’s beautiful weather, for my new shoes, for my close friends, etc) it puts you in a positive and uplifting mood. It’s very enjoyable to recognize the things that you might have been taking for granted, and to feel joy for having them in your life.
4. You’re More ResilientThroughout your life you’ll experience many setbacks and failures. So having good coping skills is vital for us to have a thriving and successful life. When life knocks you down yet you still practice gratitude, you can humbly appreciate the temporary defeat as a learning lesson. When you’re faced with challenges, you can thank God or the Universe for giving you an opportunity to practice your patience and strength.
Load up on Leafy Greens
Dark, leafy greens such as spinach and kale are rich in folate, providing 33% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA). This nutrient is linked to a decrease in negative moods and depression because it helps produce dopamine in the brain. One 2012 study found that middle-aged people who consumed the most folate had a lower risk of depression symptoms than those who ate the least.