positive psychology

The Power of Gratitude – 5 Key Principles

Gratitude is possibly the most important key to finding happiness and success in today’s modern world. Knowing exactly what we appreciate means understanding who we are, knowing what really matters to us and what makes life worthwhile. What’s more, when we practice positive psychology, and we pay close attention to what we feel most grateful for, it puts us in a positive frame of mind. In fact, gratitude is known as a ‘natural antidepressant’ because it’s impossible to feel negative and grateful at the same time.

Feeling grateful is an internal experience of expansion and fullness in the heart that connects us to the world around us and to ourselves – leaving us feeling happier and more fulfilled in life. The benefits of gratitude and positive psychology are also associated with:

  • Lasting relationships
  • Good health
  • Greater determination
  • Increased empathy
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Better sleep

How Can Gratitude & Positive Psychology Help?

To help you feel the power of gratitude and positive psychology in your life, here are five principles that will help:

1. Acceptance

We may not like our current circumstances and we may wish that we could change them. However, acceptance does not mean acquiescence. But to feel gratitude properly, we need to learn to accept what is in this moment, right now. That doesn’t mean giving up on any goals that we hope to achieve in the future but instead surrendering to how things are at this point in time.

2. Appreciation

When we take the time to fully appreciate the many blessings that come into our lives and the people around us, we experience more profound gratitude. If you’re struggling, here is a great post – 100 things to be thankful for – that can help get you started with positive psychology.

3. Giving

Whether you’re on the receiving or giving end of a gift, giving can provoke feelings of gratitude. Think of it as a way to express your appreciation for others. In the process, you will strengthen your bond with the other person and also boost your positivity. In addition, by being generous in our giving, we’re also setting ourselves up for greater opportunities for gratitude in our life.

4. Honesty

There should be nothing contrived or fake about true gratitude. It’s one of the most sincere, authentic emotions we can feel as it’s the feeling of genuine love and connection.

5. Happiness

It’s almost impossible to feel happy without having a sense of gratitude. In fact, gratitude breeds happiness, they’re inseparable twins. So if you’d like to be happier, try showing a little more gratitude in your daily life.

Can Positive Psychology Help?

Positive psychology looks at what gives our lives purpose and meaning – how we can move beyond surviving and start flourishing. It helps people explore how they can become more fulfilled and happier.

There are simple positive psychology strategies that can be tried at home in order to help promote well-being. One example of this is to practice ‘gratitude exercises’ that may involve writing down just three things that you are grateful for daily. Such techniques have been studied by experienced psychologists and have been shown to help increase happiness overtime

Positive Psychology Gratitude Exercises

Let’s get started right now…

  1. Write a list of five things that you are most grateful for in your life at the moment. These can be essential things such as your friends and family or smaller things like how a stranger held the door open for you this morning.
  2. Now take the time to reflect on your list and let yourself feel good about these five things.
  3. Is there someone who you can show appreciation to right now? If so, do that now, either with a quick email or phone call.

Repeat this exercise as often as you need to and you don’t have to stop at just five things! In fact, we recommend keeping a gratitude journal – this way you can return to your list at any time, which helps to reinforce your gratitude.

Gratitude is a choice but it can become a habit. When we learn to consciously practice feeling grateful for situations, people and resources around us, we attract a happier life and better relationships. At Positive Mind Works, our team of experienced psychologists offer a range of services to help you feel your best and get back to enjoying life. If you think you would benefit from online counselling, click here to book a session to speak with a psychologist today.


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