Attitude of Gratitude: A Workout for our Soul & Health

Attitude of Gratitude: A Workout for our Soul & Health

Attitude of Gratitude: A Workout for our Soul & Health
“Practicing gratitude is like exercising” – Robert Emmons

With our word changing seemingly overnight, it can be all too easy to focus on the things that we cannot control.  For some of us, we sit glued to our TV and computer hoping to catch a glimpse of a positive or uplifting news story.  For others, they sit down and try to make short-term goals that focus on improving their mental, physical or spiritual health.

Did you know?  Harvard Medical School explains the history and meaning of gratitude.  “The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.”   I thought that it might be interesting to take a look at several scientifically-proven benefits by replacing fear with gratitude and how we can apply to them to our daily (or “new normal”) lives.

Gratitude opens the door to more relationships.
By simply saying “thank you” to the grocery clerk, or acknowledging someone’s help by posting a positive message about them online (such as a RAVES ONLY Facebook page), this can help bring you more positive-minded acquaintances and opportunities.  Let’s be honest, it would make your grandmother smile knowing that you still know how to use your manners (unless you have hoarded 250 rolls of toilet paper beforehand).

Gratitude improves physical health.
According to a 2012 study, there is a distinctive correlation between gratitude and taking care of your health!  When you are grateful for your health, you tend to exercise more, and report a lower number of aches and pains.  For those dealing with existing health issues and chronic pain, gratitude plays a role in how individuals cope with chronic pain management.  According to Bruce Singer, PSY.D, “Gratefulness will not make the pain go away, but it will help loosen the bonds of suffering”.  Studies have also shown that writing in a gratitude journal shortly before going to bed improves sleep and allows you to sleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Gratitude improves our psychological well-being.
When we are grateful for what we have, even though it may not seem like much, we help our mental health.  Gratitude prevents us from feeling destructive emotions such as envy and frustration.  Harvard Medical School studied partners who took time to express their gratitude with their partner, felt more positive about their partner, more comfortable discussing concerns within the relationship and reported a positive impact on the overall satisfaction by both partners.  In turn, those individuals felt more appreciated and less resentful for their partner’s shortcomings, as gratitude also reduces social comparisons.  This allows couples to work through their issues in a respectful and grateful manner, while avoiding comparing their own relationship to others.

Gratitude makes us less of a jerk.
According to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky, participants in a study who showed increased levels of gratitude were less apt to retaliate against others who were aggressive or provided negative feedback to them.  This was extremely interesting to learn, as the reason why grateful people didn’t become jerks was a result of experiencing more empathy and sensitivity towards the bullies.

Gratitude seems simple in theory with wide-reaching benefits.  However, it can take a bit of mental fortitude to challenge our existing fears, pain, and way of thinking to embrace a grateful life.  How do you practice gratitude when you may be facing self-isolation or while practicing social distancing?  Harvard Medical School suggests simple ways to increase your gratitude threshold is to write a thank you note or email to someone.  If you don’t have the time or ability to write that letter, mentally imagine what that thank you note would say to the other person.  Another suggestion might include writing a daily gratitude journal, meditating, praying or even sitting down as a family and sharing 2 events or things that you are each grateful for the past week.

Our McCullough Marketing Team is here for you.  Feel free to reach out to us directly on Facebook, email, phone or on any of our other social platforms.  Have questions about the real estate market, mortgage changes or financing?  You can always arrange for us to Facetime you so that we can have a “face-to-face” virtual discussion about your specific needs.  We are here to help.  We are grateful for our clients, our family and our community.


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