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The Benefits of Showing More Gratitude

The Benefits of Showing More Gratitude

It is the time of year when most people begin to reflect and turn their focus to the blessings in their lives. Showing more gratitude can have a positive impact when expressed not just now, but in every day and every circumstance. A note from Harvard Medical School states “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships”. Are you ready to let the benefits of showing more gratitude make a lasting impact? Then keep reading!

 What are the Benefits of Showing More Gratitude?

Living a life full of gratitude changes our perspective and creates a more positive outlook. When you have a more positive outlook, your happiness increases. And with increased happiness, comes multiple benefits. These include improved sleep quality, overall health, self-esteem, resilience, and empathy.

Better Sleep Quality

All too often, my mind is cluttered with the things that didn’t get done that day, or worries and concerns I have as I prepare for sleep. If I continue to allow my mind to think on negative things, then sleep becomes elusive. I have found that if I do a brain dump by writing these things down before bed time, my mind is clearer and I fall asleep easier. If I take it a step further by writing down what I am grateful for from that day, my whole mindset changes, and I go to bed thinking about the good things in my life. Good thoughts lead to good sleep.

Improved Overall Health

There have been numerous studies that focus on how our mindset affects our health. This research shows that those who are more grateful tend to have less aches and pains, and are more likely to care for themselves with regular medical check ups. These studies also show that when people regularly take the time to write down the things they are most grateful for, it acts as a buffer against negative thoughts and emotions. The mind is a powerful tool. If we are intentionally focusing on good things, our bodies will follow with increased energy and an improvement in our overall health.

Increased Empathy and Self Esteem

When we allow negativity to rule our lives, we stay focused on our own problems and circumstances, leaving little room to see the needs of others. When we choose to be grateful instead, we can look outward and better empathize with those around us, extending help when needed. And when we concentrate on meeting the needs and encouraging others, our self-esteem will increase. Not only will you feel better about yourself, but you will also be spreading joy and gratitude to the hearts of those you help.

Increased Resilience

Unfortunately, we will all have to deal with tough circumstances from time to time. It is how we react to these situations that make all the difference. People that tend to be more grateful are able to withstand difficulties and recover quickly.  Whereas those that have a more negative mindset may remain stuck in their problems far longer than necessary. When you feel stuck, you are unable to move forward with your life.

Things to Remember

Showing More Gratitude is a Choice

Your actions and reactions all come down to the choices you make. Will you choose to extend grace and love to others? Will you choose to be more mindful of those in need, and give your time and resources? Will you choose to react with patience and understanding? Will you choose to see the good in every situation? Will you choose to be grateful for your relationships and what you already have? Gratitude is a choice.

Showing More Gratitude Takes Practice

If we want gratitude to be our first response to life’s circumstances and to others, it’s going to take practice. We must remember that change is a process. Start making small changes every day, and eventually those changes will reflect in our thoughts, actions, and reactions. We won’t always get it right, but we can learn from our mistakes, extend grace and forgiveness to ourselves, and move forward knowing we can get it right next time.

Showing More Gratitude is an Attitude

If we want to practice more gratitude, there must be a change in our attitude. Negative thoughts and emotions can quickly overwhelm us. This negativity will then flow out through our reactions in anger, harsh words, or cause us to completely shut down and distance ourselves from those we love. We must capture the negative thoughts immediately, and work to replace them with a more positive outlook. I know when bad things happen, it can be impossible to change how we feel. But it is possible to change how we choose to react.

Gratitude is my theme for the next few weeks. You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more thoughts and inspirational quotes about gratitude. You can also follow me on Pinterest for ways to express gratitude.

Stay tuned for next week’s post: 30 Ways to Show Gratitude Every Day

If you are ready to focus on showing more gratitude, not just for the Holiday Season but in every day, be sure to sign up for my FREE email challenge: 7 Days of Gratitude. Each day will include questions to answer and actionable steps to take that will start the process of lasting change in your attitude, perspective, and life. Bonus: A free printable workbook! The challenge will begin November 14th, so be sure to sign up below. Hope to see you there!

 

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How to Cope When Anxiety Threatens to Overwhelm You

How to Cope When Anxiety Threatens to Overwhelm You

Anxiety is a silent, invisible condition that often shows little outward symptoms. You may appear fine to others while on the inside, you are struggling to keep it all together. Because it is so hard to explain to those who’ve never experienced it, people are quick to blame your symptoms on something else, instead of acknowledging that anxiety is a real, life altering ailment.

I am going to get very personal here. Many people do not know that I have dealt with anxiety since the birth of my children. I have kept it very private. I have episodes where it is difficult to breathe, and a weight settles on my chest. I struggle with being in social situations, and would rather hide from the world if I could. Some days are worse than others. It is physically and emotionally draining. Medication has helped quite a bit, but I still have days when I feel the effects of anxiety.

Anxiety is not something you can just will out of your life. Believe me, I’ve tried. It comes and goes as it pleases and you have no control over when it decides to show up. If you are experiencing anxiety, I urge you to discuss it with your doctor. There are many medications that can help you control those anxious feelings. Unfortunately, there will still be days that you struggle. I would like to share with you how to cope when anxiety threatens to overwhelm you. I have found these techniques helpful on those hard days, and I hope you do too.

Find Support

When dealing with anxiety, it is easy to stay closed off and keep how you are feeling inside. I’ve tried that, and it will only get worse if you don’t discuss your emotion state with someone. Find someone you can be open and honest with.  Ask them to be your support; to talk with you regularly, pray with you and for you. Talking it through and knowing you’ve got someone in your corner encouraging you can be helpful.

Deep Breathing

When those anxious thoughts become overwhelming, stop what you are doing, find a quiet place, close your eyes and breathe deeply. Taking just a couple of minutes to do this exercise can help calm you, and if needed, do this several times a day. I use my Fitbit to take relaxing breaths, and I find it very helpful, especially on days that are more stressful. If you don’t have a Fitbit, set a timer for 2 minutes, find a comfortable place to sit and just breathe.

Find Calming Activities

I love music, so it’s a natural outlet for dealing with anxiety. YouTube has music especially designed for anxiety relief that I use often. I’ve also created a playlist of my favorite worship songs that calm me. Coloring in the adult coloring books, writing, taking a walk, and reading a good book are other relaxing activities that I enjoy. Doing things that you love can help ease those exhausting anxious feelings.

Write Out Your Feelings

Keeping my thoughts written down in a journal has been very helpful in dealing with anxiety. I can freely express how I’m feeling, and getting those thoughts out is therapeutic for me. I also like to write down what I’m thankful for, to help me realign my perspective on the positive things in my life. I recently came across the idea of keeping track of my moods in a bullet journal. You label each day of the month with how you are feeling that day: happy, angry, sad, tired, worried/anxious. This is a great way to determine how many days you are feeling anxious, and you may discover some triggers that you can try to avoid.

Rely On God

Lastly, and most importantly, I’ve learned to let go of the things I cannot control, and put them in God’s hands. I do not have all the answers, but I know the One who does. When I’m feeling anxious, I pray, and I read my Bible. I find those scriptures that encourage me, and I repeat them over and over until I get the peace and the answers I need. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Psalm 91:1(AMPC)  – He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain fixed under the shadow of the Almighty (whose power no foe can withstand)

Philippians 4:6-8 (AMPC) – Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].

For more inspiring scriptures, you can subscribe to my blog and check out my free resource: Encouraging Scriptures for Every Day Life. 

If you are dealing with anxiety, you are NOT alone. Please feel free to connect with me below, by email, or on social media. We are in this together!

And if you have any other tips to help those of us dealing with this condition, please share them in the comments!

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