How to embrace the power of gratitude to overcome stress will be the focus of this 5 part series on the power of gratitude. What do you know about the power of gratitude? You might have heard that it reduces stress, but did you know that it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma. “A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War Veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.”  Also, a 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on September 11. 
You’ll see just what an impact embracing this often-overlooked process can make. Hopefully, you’ll be excited about beginning a gratitude practice of your own. Let’s get started on the beginning steps that will enable you to embrace the power of gratitude to overcome stress.
Embrace The Power of Gratitude to Overcome Stress a Step At a Time
Gratitude is an effective coping mechanism for dealing with stressful events. Gratitude can be simply broken down to appreciating the good things in your life. Grateful people are inclined to focus on the positive aspects of life and this may lead to an increased willingness to deal actively with problems. This a big deal because sometimes when people suffer from chronic pain they will avoid activities that they fear will give them more pain—like avoiding exercising because one fears that doing so will spike the level of pain. For example some people who have fallen develops a fear of falling and begin to restrict their activities. As I said in an earlier post, “the unhelpful avoidance of movement and activities may only prolong the recovery”. Learning how to embrace gratitude can significantly boost your happiness and in the process speed your recovery.
Being grateful offers a host of other benefits you’re probably not aware of, too. This post will take a closer look at the concept, ways it can improve your life and how to practice it. In short, you’ll learn how to embrace the power of gratitude to overcome stress and more.
Understanding The Meaning of Gratitude
Natalia Merchant –Kind and Generous
This 1998 song is a humble, loving tribute to a friend who has opened their heart charitably to her. It shines with genuine appreciation and affection:
You’ve been so kind and generous
I don’t know how you keep on giving
For your kindness I’m in debt to you
For your selflessness, my admiration
And for everything you’ve done,
There are many definitions of gratitude. Some people believe it’s a feeling or emotion. Others look at it as more of a mood. Still, some folks believe gratitude is a personality trait a person exhibits. These can all be correct. In essence, gratitude elicits satisfaction and appreciation in a person through feelings, actions or even inherent qualities. Here is an example:
My Mom and My College Cane
My mom was relatively young when we had just moved into a new house in the suburbs of New York, away from the stress and 12 hour days of the city where she worked as a private duty nurse. She was looking forward to getting a new job at hospital that was just a few minutes from home. However, fate drastically changed her plans. My mom sustained serious back injury from lifting a heavy patient during the transferring process from bed to chair. You can read the rest of the story and the inspiration that she gave me to create this website here.
My mom often tells me that she’s grateful because she can still walk even though she uses a cane. At that moment we take a pause because the cane she is referring to is the same one that was given to me when I graduated from college. She had tried other canes and none were suitable. Out of desperation I told her she should try my cane. She was hesitant. She though this cane was an elegant symbol of my achievement and should be carefully kept. At that moment the only thing I cared about was making sure mom wouldn’t fall. So, I urged her to try the cane. Wow. It was like a scene from one of those feel good movies, only better. The cane fit her perfectly. “That’s your cane, mom”, I remembered saying to her.
Over the years that cane has received its shares of dents, but has become even more important to me. It has been transformed from a symbol of achievement to one of support—not just physical but emotional. Every time I see mom leaning on that cane, it’s as if she is leaning on me. The support that she has always given me as a child has now returned to help her. I am very grateful for that slightly worn, dented, but magnificent walking stick.
That said, gratitude can be viewed as a practice or something you perform regularly. Most people practice something because it benefits them. This is true of gratitude. As with other practices, you’ll get better at demonstrating gratitude the more you work at it.
Benefits of Embracing Gratitude
There are many benefits of gratitude; many of them have been scientifically proven. Once you begin to understand these, chances are good that you’ll see why it’s so important to develop a grateful mindset. Gratitude can have a positive effect on both physical and mental health. Research has shown it to improve relaxation, sleep quality and energy levels. Being thankful for your blessings can enhance your emotional wellness. You’ll deal better in crisis situations and find you’re more resilient when you’re able to look on the bright side. This can contribute to better relationships, too. Appreciating the positives in life can simply make you feel happier. You are a lot more likely to effectively deal with the frustrations of daily pain if you can keep a positive mindset. Here is a great tune to start you in the right direction.
Simon and Garfunkel–Bridge Over Trouble Water
When you’re weary
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all
Let’s end this post with a thought on ways to practice gratitude. Now, I understand that as a pain sufferer or caregiver of someone who lives in daily pain this may sound very simplistic. Recognizing your blessings may not come easily at first, but there are things that you can do to gradually make it a regular part of your routine. Keeping a gratitude journal is a good start, and this is something we will discuss later in the series. In this practice, you’ll write down three things each day that you’re grateful for, which makes it easier to notice and recognize those good things. Meditation also helps. Additionally, making an effort to thank someone each day, for even the smallest thing, can on an emotional level change things for the better. Giving back and doing good for others can provide tremendous perspective, as well.
Now you have a better idea of just what making a concerted effort to count your blessings can do for your life. You have learned how to embracing the power of gratitude to overcome stress. Indeed, embracing and expressing gratitude are very effective hacks to maintain a life with less stress.
However you decide to express your gratitude, make it specific, personal and sincere. For frequently asked questions I invite you to check here: https://healthybacksupport.com/frequently-asked-questions-faqs
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I like to hear from the readers so please leave me a comment below to let me know if this post helped you or if you have any questions