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The Power of Gratitude: How to Be Thankful No Matter What Life Throws Your Way

Updated: Dec 3, 2021

Today we live in a busy and chaotic society. We often over schedule our days with work, meetings, commutes, to-do lists, chores, and other responsibilities while we under schedule the people and activities that actually bring our lives real joy.

We wake up and start our days by looking at our cell phones and calendars and get an automatic sense of anxiety with all the activities we have to do in our day. When we turn on the news, we are immediately filled with negativity ranging from crime, unrest, and politics. After a while, the monotonous list of activities and the negative reports can become mind-numbing and create a sense of negativity within us.

There seems to be no real joy, everything is a chore, pleasure seems elusive.

Do you ever ask yourself if there's more to life than constantly being on the go, working, responsibilities, and negativity?

The harmful effects of negative thinking

All this negative energy coming our way and how we start to interpret the world can actually create mental and physical health issues disrupting our emotional state. This is clear by the high levels of anxiety and depression in the United States.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America published these facts about anxiety and depression on their website.

  • Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.

  • Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.

  • People with an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders.

  • Anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.

  • In 2014, around 15.7 million adults age 18 or older in the U.S. had experienced at least one major depressive episode in the last year (6.7% of adults in the U.S.).* (National Institute of Mental Health)

Results from the eye-opening U.K. study, the largest of its kind, indicated that it isn't just what happens to us that matters, but how we think about it that shapes our psychological well-being. Lisa Fireston Ph.D.

How can we mitigate the effects of negativity in our lives and start to create more positive experiences?

The power of gratitude

There's great power in the lives of those that feel and express gratitude on a regular basis. Research shows that people that express their gratitude in the form of a gratitude journal or gratitude letters often experience psychological and physical benefits which include

Psychological benefits

  • Higher life satisfaction

  • Positive mood

  • Lower levels of anxiety

  • Lower levels of depression

  • Higher levels of emotional well-being

  • Lower levels of burn out

  • Lower levels of materialism

Physical benefits

  • Lower incidents of inflammatory-related diseases such as cancer and heart disease

  • Increased immune function

  • Less pain

  • Higher quality of sleep

  • Lower blood pressure