Gratitude is superpower.
Like mindfulness, gratitude is another superpower. A superpower that you have to help yourself feel better.
There is lots of research that shows that practising gratitude can improve your happiness, reduce depression and increase your resilience.
Imagine that! Just being more thankful for the things, the people and the world around you, can make you happier!
The Science of Gratitude
Ready to become more grateful?
Step 1. Write a list of things you’re grateful for.
Practising gratitude is simple. It’s as simple as grabbing a pen and some paper right now and writing ‘things I am grateful for’ at the top and then writing a list.
It may help to break up your list by writing ‘people’, ‘places’ and ‘things’.
Go on, do it now.
You may already be starting to feel better!
However, to maintain the benefits of gratitude, you need to do it regularly. We recommend you start by spending 5 minutes writing a new list every night before you go to bed or when you wake up.
The science says that just by connecting with what you’re grateful for, you will actually sleep better. It can also increase your motivation for exercise too.
Step 2: From the list that you wrote in the previous step, choose one person that you are grateful for and draw a circle around their name.
Step 3: Now write a letter! It doesn’t need to be very long, but it should be real and honest.
Start with ‘Dear [Name]…’ and tell them why you are grateful for having them in your life.
Expressing your gratitude
Watch this heartwarming video about people expressing their gratitude. It can be emotional, but everyone said that they felt better for the experience.
An Experiment in Gratitude, The Science of Happiness
Can you guess what’s next?
Step 4: Pick up the phone or find the person you wrote the letter about and read it to them.
You may have to be brave and courageous to do this but imagine if someone did this for you. You would be so grateful that they shared that with you. So this is your opportunity to do something amazing today.
Step 5: Document it. If you did that and it made you feel better then you should document it! Take a moment to write how it made you feel.
Consistency is key. Gratitude builds on itself. The more that gratitude is practised, the more the brain learns to tune in to the positive things in the world.
This isn’t something that tends to come naturally. We humans generally have a ‘negativity bias’, which means that we’re wired to notice threats in the environment. This has been a good thing – it’s kept us alive since the beginning of time! But it can also get in the way of our well-being. Practising gratitude can rewire the brain to spend more time on the good stuff and less on the bad.
The more gratitude we feel, the more we act openly and honestly towards other people, which encourages their feelings of gratitude, and makes them more open with us… and so the beautiful cycle of gratitude goes on.