MuuvWell Blog

How Great is Gratitude?

July 8, 2024

Gratitude is a powerful tool for overall well-being. It is a feeling of deep appreciation, usually for a person, or their actions. Expressing gratitude, whether by writing it down, or saying it aloud, can significantly enhance mental health by reducing stress and anxiety. Physically, it lowers heart rate. Receiving a genuine expression of gratitude has beneficial mental and social health impacts as well.

Gratitude Changes How You Think

As humans, we are wired to scan for the negative. This is a survival mechanism. We have to be wary of danger and protect ourselves from harm. However, that means we are wired to ruminate on the negative, which can reinforce negative emotions and emotional states. By intentionally scanning for moments, people, and actions that you are grateful for, you rewire your brain to pay attention to the positive. Studies show that regularly practicing gratitude lowers the baseline activity of anxiety and fear circuits in your brain, while increasing the activity of circuits for well-being and motivation. This shift cultivates a more positive mindset, improves emotional resilience, and promotes a more optimistic outlook on life.

Gratitude Strengthens Relationships

Social connections are crucial for emotional and physical health. Expressing appreciation for others, or for their actions or attitudes, can deepen relationships and foster a more supportive social environment. In our modern society, loneliness is a major health concern. Imagine how expressing gratitude, or receiving an expression of gratitude, could combat feelings of loneliness. Certainly, expressing gratitude to someone, or receiving it yourself, means you have been seen and appreciated. Receiving gratitude can bolster self-esteem, and change how you view yourself and what you contribute to a relationship or role.

At work, gratitude can improve motivation, productivity, as well as social connections. It can also expand into the environment, fostering a supportive workplace culture, as well as improve empathy and communication between coworkers. Workplaces that encourage expressions of gratitude tend to have higher happiness ratings overall.

A Gratitude Practice

Throughout your day, intentionally scan for a moment, a person, or an act that you are truly grateful for. You can also recall a profound moment of gratitude from the past. Write it down, or, even more powerful, tell someone directly. This is something you can do daily, a few times per week, to kickstart a work meeting, or before saying goodnight to your loved ones. No matter how you go about it, this simple act is a powerful tool in strengthening relationships, and improving mental, emotional, and physical health.

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