Naomi Williams wrote, “It’s impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment.” While we often hear about the power of gratitude for creating a more positive and happy mental state, research from UCLA shows that gratitude has the power to transform your brain.
In fact, regularly expressing gratitude literally changes the brain’s molecular structure, keeps gray matter functioning, improves sleep, reduces anxiety, and makes us healthier and happier.
In one study, researchers separated participants into three groups. Each group was instructed to keep a weekly journal. The first group journaled about things they were grateful for, the second group wrote about what was upsetting them, and the third kept track of neutral events. After ten weeks, the participants who kept a gratitude journal reported feeling 25% better than the other groups.
Gratitude can help us feel more connected, create a positive outlook, and even increase energy and vitality. So, how can you cultivate more gratitude in your daily life? Here are some tips to help you get started:
Keep a Gratitude Journal: take a few moments each day to write down the things you are grateful for.
Choose Positive Words: the way you frame your thoughts has an impact on how you feel. Reflect on things with positive language and look for the silver lining in every situation.
Share the Love: Make it a daily practice to tell the people in your life how much you value and appreciate them.
Avoid Comparisons: Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” When you focus on the things other people have, you are focusing on what you lack. Instead focus on the abundance in your own life.
Live in the Moment: A beautiful sunset, the first sip of coffee, taking a walk with a friend, focusing on the present allows us to enjoy and appreciate the small things.
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it make sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie
About LifeStyle Options
Founded in 1989, LifeStyle Options is one of the largest, licensed private duty home care agencies in Illinois. With highly experienced and trained homecare professionals, CNAs, and RNs on staff, they have earned a reputation for providing exceptional service to clients throughout the Greater Chicagoland area, enabling older adults to safely remain in the comfort of their own home.