It’s easy to get caught up in negative emotions. This is completely understandable. It’s a natural part of being human. The feelings of fear and anxiety served our ancestors well. In the course of our evolution as a species, they had to survive under many life-threatening situations regularly in dangerous and unpredictable environments. The fearless had higher probabilities of getting eaten by a lion or crocodile. And those who were relaxed in unknown terrain, could easily have walked off cliffs, got swallowed up by quicksand or starved. The probabilities for not surviving were pretty high in those times.

However, with the significant changes in our living conditions, negative emotions can be maladaptive to modern humans – that’s us. And while fear and anxiety once played a vital role in our survival, they can now lead to harmful consequences to our mental wellbeing when not properly managed.

To override the dominance of negative emotions, which makes us overlook the positives that surround us every day, we need to cultivate this: an attitude of gratitude in our daily lives.

Research has shown that expressing gratitude regularly can lead to improved mood, reduced stress, and enhanced overall mental health. Here’s why:

1. Gratitude helps us redirect our attention from the challenges and worries in our lives to the aspects we are grateful for. By recognizing the good, we create a positive feedback loop that fosters a more optimistic outlook on life. This allows us to shift our focus from negativity to positivity.

2. Expressing gratitude triggers the release of dopamine and serotonin – neurotransmitters that promote feelings of pleasure and relaxation. This chemical response helps lower stress levels and eases anxiety, allowing us to better cope with life’s challenges. We could all do with less stress and anxiety in our lives, yes?

3. A grateful mindset encourages us to view setbacks and difficulties as temporary hurdles rather than insurmountable obstacles. This shift in perspective helps build resilience and the ability to bounce back from adversity.

4. When we express gratitude to others, it strengthens our connections with them. Grateful individuals tend to be more empathetic and compassionate, fostering a sense of trust and deepening their social bonds.

Undeniably, like many things we want to achieve in our lives, cultivating an attitude of gratitude is easier said than done. But doing these following things can help immensely in getting us there:

1. Let’s keep a Gratitude Journal.  Let’s set aside a few minutes each day to write down three things we are grateful for. This simple practice can help us focus on the positive aspects of our lives, no matter how small, and creates a record of positivity to reflect upon during challenging times.

2. Let’s express genuine appreciation to the people around us. Whether it’s a heartfelt thank-you note, a warm hug, or a simple compliment, expressing appreciation reinforces positive emotions for both the giver and receiver. Let’s not hold back on spreading positivity around.

3. Let’s engage in mindfulness exercises. Meditation or deep breathing can help us become more aware of the present moment and the abundance it holds. Mindfulness enhances our ability to notice the little joys that we might otherwise overlook.

4. Let’s volunteer and give Back. Engaging in acts of kindness and helping others in need can amplify feelings of gratitude. Volunteering for a cause we care about not only benefits the recipients but also leaves us with a sense of fulfillment and gratitude for the opportunity to make a positive impact.

5. Let’s reframe challenges. Instead of dwelling on negative situations, let’s always try to find the silver lining in difficult circumstances. Let’s always consider what we have learned or gained from these experiences, even if it’s just greater resilience or personal growth.

An attitude of gratitude is a powerful tool that can significantly enhance our mental wellbeing. By embracing a thankful mindset and actively expressing appreciation for the positive aspects of our lives, we can reduce stress, build resilience, and strengthen our relationships. Incorporating simple gratitude practices into our daily routines can have profound effects on our overall happiness and help us navigate life’s challenges with greater ease.

Every big journey starts with a small step. But with courage, commitment, and a little help along the way, those little those steps will take you to where you need to go.

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