Positive Psychology & Gratitude

Positive Psychology: What We Focus on, Grows!

My career as a social worker and my life have been highly influenced by the field of positive psychology. As a social worker, I take a strengths-based approach and view of the human experience.  The field of positive psychology supports this perspective. Positive psychology is the scientific study of the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive. 

One of the primary findings of positive psychology research is the positive impact and power of gratitude to improve the quality of our lives. With gratitude, no matter what is going on in your life, you find a way to be grateful. The more you focus on the good things, the better your life seems to get.

You can learn more about this, explore the research of Martin Seligman and the field of Positive Psychology.

Develop a Daily Gratitude Practice

Undoubtedly, you have heard about the importance of expressing gratitude or starting a daily practice, but do you know why people recommend it so often? Aside from the fact that it is always a good idea to be more grateful and appreciative of the good things in your life, there is quite a lot of research that indicates an immense value from this simple practice.

Benefits of Expressing Gratitude

  1. Reduce Toxic Mindset Patterns:  This probably sounds familiar to you. One bad thing happens to you, then suddenly 20 more bad things happen to you. It seems to create this avalanche effect that you can’t seem to help. But what if that happened simply because of your own mindset? With a focus on problems, your ability to see anything that is going well in your life becomes clouded.  This isn’t an accident or a coincidence.

  2. Reduce Stress-Levels:  There is this amazing effect that occurs when you start expressing more gratitude. The stress you have in your life begins to diminish. It isn’t going to magically disappear, but suddenly what you were worried about doesn’t seem as important. The big things you thought were “the worst” no longer ruin your days because you understand how many good things happen to you.

  3. Become a More Forgiving & Empathetic Person:  As you start focusing on your gratitude, you get some other behavioral benefits as well. It starts becoming easier to forgive people for something they might have done or said that hurt your feelings, and you become a much more empathetic person. You understand people’s struggles a little better as you see the joy in your own life. You become a more well-rounded person who is grateful for everything, the good and the bad.

  4. Appreciate Your Life, Even Through Hard Times: Lastly, you start to appreciate your life more, regardless of the day you are having. You become so accustomed to showing gratitude for every little thing, that when you get a flat tire or you have a hard day at work, you can still focus on the good things and these stressful situations aren’t so bad after all.

Next Steps – Begin a Daily Gratitude Journal

  1. Bolster Your Journaling Practice –Add writing a Gratitude List into your daily journaling practice. Find a Gratitude Journal with pre-written prompts to guide your daily writing at the Think in Possibilities shop.

  2. Morning Gratitude List-Making – Consider beginning each day by writing a simple and quick list of 3 things you are grateful for as the day begins.

  3. Evening Gratitude – Consider evening as a time for reflection and journaling. Write your gratitude list at the end of the day, noting 3 things in the day for which you are grateful.

  4. Mindset lined JournalWhat You Focus on Grows