Gratitude. It’s a simple word that often gets lost in the shuffle of trying to get through your daily life. When life weighs heavily on you, practicing gratitude can bring about bigger changes and benefits than you realize.
According to Psychology Today, there are seven benefits to practicing gratitude that have been scientifically proven. One of the benefits is better sleep.
Here are some additional benefits of gratitude:
- Physical Health Improvements
- Relationship Building (increasing your network of friends and acquaintances)
- Better Psychological Health
- Enhances Empathy while Reducing Aggression
- Builds Self-Esteem
- Improves Mental Strength
- Improves Sleep
People who are grateful tend to see the positive in every situation, rather than focusing on the negative. This changes the way they perceive the world and their place in it. If you take the time to practice gratitude daily for just one week, imagine how much it could change your entire outlook on life!
What is Gratitude?
Before you begin practicing gratitude, it’s wise to have a firm understanding of what gratitude is. Oxford Living Dictionary defines gratitude as “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”
That’s a good place to begin. We often think only of kindness being directed to others. A key component of gratitude lies in directing kindness to ourselves as well. As humans, it is in our nature to strive for excellence. We all want to be the best at what we do. We also often compare ourselves to others. Sometimes, we are a little bit harsh in those comparisons.
Begin practicing gratitude by inspecting yourself with kindness. Practice this daily. The more positive traits and characteristics you identify in yourself, the more you’ll begin to recognize the positive traits in other people. It will change your world, and may change the way others around you view you and the world as a whole.
The more you practice gratitude, the more it grows within you. Not only will you begin to see the good in others, but you’ll also begin to want to do good for others. People who are grateful for what they have, have little to keep them up at night. As a result, they sleep better than those who spend their hours worrying about the things they do not have and cannot change. It’s more than a mere anecdote, though. There have been countless studies that support the supposition that gratitude improves sleep quality.
How Does Gratitude Affect Sleep?
Sleep. It’s one of the most fundamental requirements for sound physical and mental health. Think about it. What keeps you up at night? For many people, it is worry. Plain and simple.
Think about all of the things that you worry about in the course of a day and all of the things that you worry about as you go to sleep:
- Home Repairs
- Vehicle Woes
- Family Drama
These negative thoughts can keep you up into the wee hours of the morning. They rob you of invaluable sleep, productivity, and good health.
Instead, start a gratitude journal and write down all of the things that you are thankful for in your life, each night before you go to bed. This is a good reminder to yourself of all of the good in your life. This gratitude will help you to worry less at bedtime and sleep more soundly throughout the night.
A study by Psychology Today, reported that students who wrote in gratitude journals for 15 minutes prior to going to bed every evening enjoyed less worry along with better quality sleep for longer durations afterward. After three weeks, participants reported getting longer, more refreshing sleep.
It’s no surprise that a number of additional studies have linked gratitude to greater happiness, satisfaction with life, and optimism about the future.
Benefits of Gratitude Beyond Sleep
Imagine what a difference it would make, if you could focus on positive thoughts of things you are grateful for, each day. Some of the benefits you could enjoy would be:
- Reduction of stress
- Improvement of mood
- Fall asleep faster
- Greater optimism
- Improved morale
- Stronger relationships
- Develop a hopeful attitude
- Enjoy more energy to accomplish your goals
- Better self-esteem
Additionally, others will be more attracted to you if you express your gratitude. You will be more likely to make new friends and develop more meaningful relationships with existing friends, if you acknowledge and show your appreciation for the things they do.
Practicing gratitude will improve your life in more areas than you expect. Sleep is a huge benefit that impacts your mood, your mental health, your physical well being, your immune system, your energy levels, and even your leadership abilities. So how can you begin practicing gratitude?
Here are a few things you can do that will help you foster feelings of gratitude daily:
Keep a Gratitude Journal
Spend a few minutes each night writing down the things you’re grateful for. Robert Emmons, author of Gratitude Works, and a leading expert on the science of gratitude, reports that people who keep gratitude journals are 25 percent happier than those who do not.
Start small and write down three things that you are grateful for each day. Be specific, thorough and sincere. It will become easier with practice. You may even want to expand your journal and include more than three things each day.
Every time you’re tempted to lodge a complaint, look for something positive to say instead. It will change the way you see the world.
Spread the Love
Gratitude is also a gift you share with others. Tell people who make your day brighter, better, or easier how they have helped, and express your gratitude. Not only will it help to brighten their day, but they may be inspired to brighten the day of others as well.
It costs you absolutely nothing to tell others how they have helped to make your day better, and it may mean everything to someone who may be having a dreadful day or feeling a little down in the dumps.
Write a Letter
There are many people in life for whom you are grateful. The more you practice gratitude the more people you will discover that deserve your gratitude for the roles they’ve played in your life over the years. Hand write a letter, and give it to someone who has helped shape your life, offered advice, or been a rock for you through challenging times.
Don’t send an email or a text. Write out the letter by hand and either mail the letter or deliver it in person. Writing the letter solidifies your own feelings of gratitude and choosing a unique method (in this day and age) of delivery lets the receiver feel special in the process as well.
Let the People Close to You Know How Grateful You Are
Call your parents or your children, and let them know how grateful you are for them. We often forget to tell those who are closest to us, how we feel.
It’s important that you take the time to share with these people, who have helped to shape you into the person you are, the many reasons that you’re grateful to know them.
Don’t Forget Yourself
You do a lot in the course of a day – take care of your family, care for your pets, work, etc. You may even volunteer within your community or give back in other ways. Be grateful that you have the good health, the compassionate heart, and the sound mind to accomplish all of these things in a day.
Can gratitude improve your sleep quality? Yes and in more ways than you may realize. Practice gratitude every day, and see what a difference it makes for your sleep quantity, sleep quality, and many other areas of your life. You have nothing to lose by adopting a grateful heart and so much to gain from these exercises in gratitude.
Here at PlushBeds we’re grateful for all of our wonderful customers. We believe that every single one of us deserves the life-enhancing benefits of rejuvenating and restful sleep. We know you’re making an investment in your health and well being when you purchase one of PlushBeds luxury mattresses. We’re committed to making extremely comfortable and healthy products for you.
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