Can gratitude really help with stress management?

Feb 19, 2019
 Have you ever sat at lunch with friends, fighting back tears over a hopeless work situation? You need to change job. You also need to pull yourself out of feeling useless, but how?

When life appears hopeless and you are feeling helpless, being told to write down 3 things you are grateful for every day probably isn’t the suggestion you are looking for but there is a reason all successful entrepreneurs are committed to gratitude.

The science behind gratitude.

RESEARCH SHOWS: Practicing gratitude is good for your health – it boosts the immune system, lowers blood pressure, aids sleep, supports heart health; People who practice gratitude report feeling more connected with self and the environment; Stress hormones are 23% lower in grateful people.

When we are grateful, the parasympathetic part of our nervous system, the opposite of the stress response system, is triggered. This has a calming effect, lowering cortisol and maybe raising oxytocin. Through this system, gratitude recruits other positive emotions… you may notice that its pretty hard to feel gratitude and frown/scowl at the same time!

Start with the little things.

Grab a little notepad and start writing. Don’t worry if you run out of things to be grateful for after three days, you will not be the only one. It will get easier with practice. Go for the little things, the fact you have food in the fridge or the friend who cares for you and is always there. That the sun came out when you decided to take a lunch break and go for a walk instead of sitting and eating at your desk. Crunchy red autumn leaves. On the house coffee at PRET! 

Gratitude can be cultivated – a 2-minute habit for a positive change. 

….it does literally take 2 minutes … So build it into your daily routine.

Try writing the three things you are grateful for at the start of the day.  It has the added benefit of setting your brain into a “positive” mode for the day, making you more likely to notice good things that are happening. 

Or reflect on the things you can be grateful for from your day by practicing in the evening. This will relax your mind, making it less likely to become overwhelmed with the stresses of the day, promoting good sleep.

  • Starting a gratitude journal is hugely popular advice, but I admit that I found that hard at first
  • I linked my gratitude practice to something I do every day without fail… cleaning my teeth.  Every morning, I think of 3 things I am currently grateful for.
  • With a sceptical client, we worked on “A-post-it-a-day” using single words. After a month he gathered them together to review his tiny page-a-day gratitude journal, then built up from there

You can use simple notepad or grab my form which I made for my client

Tell us what are you grateful for today, leave me a comment below.


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