Gratitude, or the quality of being thankful, is a powerful practice that has the potential to transform our perception of life and cultivate a positive outlook. When things go awry, maintaining a sense of gratitude allows us to shift our focus away from what is bogging us down, towards other aspects of life that bring us joy, comfort, and peace.
The transformative power of gratitude can be tapped right from the moment we wake up. Imagine starting each day by consciously acknowledging the things you are grateful for: your loved ones, a secure roof over your head, a warm meal on your plate, or even clean air to breathe in.
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With consistent practise, gratitude brings a multitude of benefits that can change your life in profound and lasting ways, such as these:
Enhanced psychological well-being
Research shows that there is a relationship between gratitude and psychological well-being. Scientists have found that practising gratitude is positively correlated with increased happiness and life satisfaction1. Individuals who practise gratitude actively and regularly are less likely to experience depression and anxiety2, leading to a more optimistic perspective on life.
Expressing gratitude can be crucial for our interpersonal relationships. When we actively express gratitude, we create an environment of warmth, trust, and mutual appreciation. Gratitude can even serve as a relationship booster. In one study, couples who regularly expressed gratitude towards each other experienced increased relationship satisfaction and a stronger bond3.
Life is a mix of highs and lows, of joy and sorrow. Gratitude can help us stay afloat during difficult times. Research shows that individuals who practise gratitude tend to be more resilient and are better equipped to handle stress and adversity4.
The benefits of gratitude are not limited to our psychological well-being – it impacts our physical health as well. A study discovered that individuals who maintained a regular gratitude journal reported better sleep quality and longer sleep duration5. This led to overall enhanced well-being, reinforcing the benefits of this simple practice.
Cultivating gratitude in your everyday life
How can we integrate this powerful practice into our daily lives and cultivate a consistent gratitude habit? Here are some easy-to-follow tips:
Keep a gratitude journal
Dedicate a few quiet moments each day to jot down three things you are grateful for. Over time, this seemingly small practice can have a huge impact, magnifying positive feelings and fostering a more optimistic outlook on life.
Mindfulness is about living in the present moment, being fully aware and appreciative of our current circumstances. By incorporating mindfulness techniques like meditation or deep breathing into your daily routine, you can amplify your ability to recognise and appreciate the good around you, thus cultivating gratitude.
Express gratitude to others
Make an effort to thank the people who have made a difference in your life. It could be your loved ones, a colleague, or even your favourite hawker who knows your order by heart. Such expressions not only strengthen your relationships, but also foster feelings of connection and appreciation.
Volunteer or do good
Simple acts of kindness can promote a greater sense of happiness and satisfaction. Whether it is volunteering at your child’s school, helping a neighbour, or joining a beach clean-up, these deeds can amplify our sense of gratitude and empathy.
Reflect on challenges and growth
While it is easy to be grateful for the good things, true growth lies in finding gratitude even in the face of challenges. Reflecting on our struggles and recognising how they have led to personal growth can help cultivate a resilient and grateful outlook on life.
Gratitude is more than an emotion – it is a mindset that helps us unlock a more fulfilling and joyful life. As we cultivate it, we may find ourselves edging closer towards contentment and joy. So, embrace the power of gratitude and feel the difference.
- Wood, A. M., Froh, J. J., & Geraghty, A. W. (2010). Gratitude and well-being: A review and theoretical integration. Clinical Psychology Review, 30(7), 890-905.
- Algoe, S. B., Gable, S. L., & Maisel, N. C. (2010). It's the little things: Everyday gratitude as a booster shot for romantic relationships. Personal Relationships, 17(2), 217-233.
- Gordon, A. M., Impett, E. A., Kogan, A., Oveis, C., & Keltner, D. (2012). To have and to hold: Gratitude promotes relationship maintenance in intimate bonds.
- Cohn, M. A., Fredrickson, B. L., Brown, S. L., Mikels, J. A., & Conway, A. M. (2009). Happiness unpacked: Positive emotions increase life satisfaction by building resilience. Emotion, 9(3), 361-368.
- Wood, A. M., Joseph, S., Lloyd, J., & Atkins, S. (2009). Gratitude influences sleep through the mechanism of pre-sleep cognitions. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 66(1), 43-48.
The information provided in this article is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the authors’, reflect the authors’ judgment as at the date of the article and are subject to change at any time without notice. United Overseas Bank Limited (“UOB”) and its employees make no representation or warranty whether express or implied, and accepts no responsibility or liability for its completeness and accuracy or your reliance on the same. Please consult a medical professional with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health, physical fitness or medical conditions.