One very significant element of developing a more positive experience through Mindfulness is the practice of Gratitude. A large body of recent work has suggested that people whoare more grateful have higher levels of subjective well-being. Grateful people are happier, less depressed, less stressed, and more satisfied with their lives and social relationships Specifically, in terms of depression, gratitude may serve as a buffer by enhancing the coding and retrievability of positive experiences. Grateful people also have higher levels of control of their environments, personal growth, purpose in life, and self acceptance. Grateful people have more positive ways of coping with the difficulties they experience in life, being more likely to seek support from other people, reinterpret and grow from the experience, and spend more time planning how to deal with the problem. Grateful people also have less negative coping strategies, being less likely to try to avoid the problem, deny there is a problem, blame themselves, or cope through substance use. Grateful people sleep better, and this seems to be because they think less negative and more positive thoughts just before going to sleep.
Gratitude has been said to have one of the strongest links with mental health of any character trait. Numerous studies suggest that grateful people are more likely to have higher levels of happiness and lower levels of stress and depression.
While many emotions and personality traits are important to well-being, there is evidence that gratitude may be uniquely important. First, a longitudinal study (Wood, A. M., Maltby, J., Gillett, R., Linley, P. A., & Joseph, S. 2008) showed that people who were more grateful coped better with a life transition. Specifically, people who were more grateful before the transition were less stressed, less depressed, and more satisfied with their relationships three months later. Second, two studies (Wood, A. M., Joseph, S. & Maltby 2009 & Wood, A. M., Maltby, J., Gillett, R., Linley, P. A., & Joseph, S. 2008) have suggested that gratitude may have a unique relationship with well-being, and can explain aspects of well-being that other personality traits cannot.
According to Cicero, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues but the parent of all others.” Multiple studies have shown the correlation between gratitude and increased wellbeing not only for the individual but for all people involved. The positive psychology movement has embraced these studies and in an effort to increase overall wellbeing, has begun to make an effort to incorporate exercises to increase gratitude into the movement. Although in the past gratitude has been neglected by psychology, in recent years much progress has been made in studying gratitude and its positive effects.
Please take a few moments to watch our short video exploring Mindfulness Awareness & Gratitude Happy New Day Video
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