Like mindfulness, hygge and manifestation, gratitude has certainly earned its place as a wellbeing buzzword du jour. While we all know the word gratitude, actively and consciously cultivating it in our day-to-day lives might feel new, and even a little strange. So, what’s so great about gratitude?

  1. It makes you kinder, more empathetic, and less aggressive

Think of a time you felt deeply grateful. Maybe for your health, someone incredible in your life, being in a beautiful place, or a particularly delicious cup of coffee. Now try and imagine being very angry in that moment. You can’t, right? When we feel and focus on feelings of gratitude, we are necessarily focusing on the positive – what we do have, rather than what we don’t. The more we switch on and strengthen our ‘gratitude muscle’, the more fulfilled and satisfied we feel in our lives, and the more we are able to be supportive and empathetic towards others. This 2011 studyshowed that grateful people are therefore able to foster better relationships, and have a decreased drive to exact revenge.

  1. Gratitude helps you increase mental strength and self-esteem

A number of studies have found that grateful people are less likely to indulge in social comparison, and better able to focus on themselves and their goals, whilst appreciating other people’s accomplishments. The mental strength and resilience associated with gratitude also help people recover from traumatic events– and this holds true in everyday challenges too. Rather than having your day spoilt by someone driving rudely, or something not turning out the way you’d hoped, gratitude can help you focus on the positive, and minimise the impact of negative events on your mental state.

  1. Gratitude helps you sleep better, and improves general physical health

The simple act of gratitude can help deepen and lengthen your shut-eye, as well as reduce general physical aches and pains. People who are grateful for their bodies and health are also more likely to take care of themselves by exercising regularly, getting medical assistance when needed, and eating well, therefore increasing their overall health.

Convinced? With this myriad of benefits, why wouldn’t you want a little more gratitude in your life? So onto the nitty-gritty-gratitude practices are many and varied – here are just a few suggestions of how you can incorporate a little more into your life.

  1. Start journaling

Each day, put aside a few minutes (somewhere between 5 and 15 minutes is perfect) to write down some things that you are really, deeply grateful for. Try and get as specific as you can – so rather than just say ‘my health’ or ‘my partner’, get super detailed. Something like ‘I’m grateful for having strong, healthy legs that let me walk to the shops’ or ‘I’m grateful that my partner made me a cup of tea’. When you start actively reflecting on good things around you, you’ll notice them more.

  1. Express gratitude

This doesn’t necessarily mean big sweeping gestures – just taking a moment to thank people for helping you. Super simple, but it’s amazing how much simply acknowledging and thanking people can light up both their and your day!

  1. Turn your ‘autopilot’ complaints into opportunities for gratitude

There are some things in life we go through that are incredible difficult, and these things absolutely need to be acknowledged, and processed. But so often, we get in cycles of negativity about not just big things, but small things. Turning these around and looking at the flip side can help us maintain a sense of perspective, and choosing to adopt a more positive mindset. For example – getting caught in the rain could be seen as an inconvenience, or an opportunity to appreciate the beautiful place you live in, and how green everything will be afterwards, and how warm your shower will feel when you get home. A little naf? Maybe. But effective? Most certainly.

We’d love to hear how this resonates with you, and any ways you build a little more gratitude into your life.