So does gratitude really help to build self-esteem?
Many of us believe that practicing gratitude improves our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. But how exactly does gratitude contribute to building self-esteem?
If you’re curious about how gratitude can enhance your self-esteem and boost your self-confidence, then your in the right place.
In this blog, we will delve into the profound connection between gratitude and self-esteem. We’ll explore the ways that gratitude positively impacts your sense of self-worth and so many other areas of your life.
Gratitude is often seen as a simple act of acknowledging the good things in life. However, its benefits extend far beyond surface-level positivity. Adopting a grateful mindset and expressing appreciation for the blessings you have truly changes your self-perception and overall well-being.
Whether you’re seeking personal growth, increased confidence, or simply more joy in your days, you’ll find these insights and actionable steps valuable.
So without further ado, let’s dive into how gratitude can help you build your self-esteem and create a more fulfilling life.
How does gratitude actually help?
Those who incorporate gratitude into their lives experience increased happiness, resilience, and strength. They also enjoy a lower risk of depression symptoms, as well as reduced stress and anxiety. By cultivating gratitude, we can lead happier lives overall.
But why and how does something as simple as focusing on gratitude have such a profound impact?
While I’m not a scientist, I can explain the basic concept behind it.
Gratitude helps rewire your brain. Throughout evolution, we have been hardwired to focus on the negative, to be constantly aware of danger and risks to ensure our safety. However, in today’s world, you aren’t constantly faced with life-threatening situations. Instead, you might find yourself bombarded with countless everyday stressors and responsibilities.
Your brain, still operating on a fight-or-flight response, channels that focus onto these seemingly insignificant stressors.
Your brain doesn’t know the difference between a what is real and what isn’t. Therefore shifting your attention to the simple things you’re grateful for throughout the day, actually starts to rewire your brain.
By focusing on gratitude, you essentially reprogram yourself for more positivity. This practice releases important hormones such as dopamine and serotonin which are your feel-good hormones and your body’s natural antidepressants. The more of these hormones you have, the happier you feel, ultimately leading to a more positive mindset.
When you practice gratitude regularly, a part of your brain called the prefrontal cortex starts to change. This part of your brain is responsible for regulating thoughts, emotions, and actions. This part of your brain begins to notice, appreciate, and remember the positive aspects of your life more frequently.
So, gone are the days when you would navigate through your day without noticing anything good happening around you. Imagine you’re currently wearing metaphorical blinkers, limiting your focus and perception to the negative aspects of your life.
However, when you start to consciously practice gratitude, you remove those blinkers and adopt a more open, receptive mindset. As a result, you become more attuned to positive experiences and this creates a powerful ripple effect on your life.
Now you understand the profound impact of gratitude on your well-being and self-esteem, you may be wondering how to incorporate it into your daily life. With an abundance of gratitude practices available, it’s
easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure where to begin. That’s why I’m here to simplify things for you.
Rather than overwhelming you with an exhaustive list of a thousand and one gratitude exercises, I’m going to give you two practical ways to get started.
So, let’s delve into 2 practical ways that can kickstart your journey towards cultivating gratitude in your everyday life:
1. Start a Daily Gratitude Practice
Choose a method that suits you, whether it’s writing in a notebook, using an app, or simply reflecting in your mind. Dedicate a few moments each day to write down three to five things you’re grateful for.
Here are some important things to remember when getting started:
- Acknowledge Challenges – Some days gratitude can feel difficult, so it’s important to honour your emotions and acknowledge that gratitude might feel harder at times. If you’re going through a tough period or having a ‘bad day’, it’s okay if gratitude doesn’t come easily. Allow yourself space to navigate those feelings while remaining open to gratitude’s potential benefits.
- Choose the Right Time – Find a time that works best for you to engage in gratitude practice. Some people like to start their day with gratitude whilst others like to do it as a positive reflection as part of their evening wind down routine, there is no right or wrong, just what works for you.
- Consider aligning your practice with areas that impact your self-esteem – For example, if body image is a challenge, include a gratitude related to your physical appearance or body in general. Tailoring your practice to bring attention to areas where you seek growth and self-acceptance will make your gratitude practice even more beneficial.
- Embrace the Process – When you start writing down your gratitude’s, they may initially feel insignificant or trivial. It’s normal to question whether you’re doing it right or if your entries are substantial enough. The process will become easier with practice, and you’ll begin to notice more things to be grateful for. Remember, these don’t have to be monumental things, especially when you’re feeling low. Even small moments of gratitude can make a difference.
- Use Gratitude Prompts – If you’re struggling to find things to be grateful for use gratitude prompts to get you in the swing of things. Gratitude prompts can serve as little questions to kickstart your gratitude practice, making it easier to generate ideas and find gratitude even on challenging days.
2. Be Mindful through your day
Mindfulness emphasises the practice of anchoring yourself in the present moment, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. This focus on the here and now allows you to cultivate a deep sense of appreciation for the present moment. You can recognise moments as gifts and opportunities for growth, connection, and joy. By being fully present, you can tap into the wellspring of gratitude that resides within you.
Here’s how mindfulness enhances gratitude:
- Heightened Sensory Perception – Mindfulness allows you to fully engage your senses and tune into your experiences. By bringing conscious awareness to your surroundings, you become more receptive to the beauty, joy, and abundance that is present in everyday moments. This heightened sensory perception and enables you to notice and appreciate the small details that you might have previously overlooked, fostering a greater sense of gratitude.
- Cultivates Non-Judgmental Awareness – Mindfulness encourages non-judgmental awareness of your thoughts, emotions, and experiences. When you practice non-judgmental observation, you become more accepting and open to your current circumstances, including both positive and negative aspects.
- Slows Down Automatic Responses – Mindfulness helps you break free from autopilot mode and the tendency to rush through life. By slowing down and being fully present, you gain the capacity to pause and reflect on the blessings, opportunities, and positive aspects of your life. This intentional slowing down allows gratitude to arise naturally, as you take the time to savour and appreciate each moment.
Slowing down and being mindful throughout your day can significantly enhance your gratitude practice. Mindfulness can take various forms and is unique to each individual. It could involve meditation, going for a walk in nature, or engaging in an activity where you are fully present in the moment. The key is to let go of worries about the future and regrets about the past, and simply be aware of and appreciate the present moment.
You might find it helpful to use guided Gratitude Meditations. These meditations don’t have to be time consuming and you can find some amazing guided gratitude meditations on you tube.
Stick with it…
Remember to be patient with yourself as you explore these practices. Gratitude doesn’t require a significant time investment, but it does require consistency and a willingness to cultivate awareness of the present moment.
By combining gratitude journaling with mindfulness practices, you’ll create a powerful synergy that can positively transform your self-esteem and overall well-being. Take the time to nurture these practices and discover the beauty of being present and grateful.
If you want a little more, you can grab 10 little gratitude habits here.
Most importantly, remember, it’s all about taking small steps and finding what works best for you. Building gratitude into your daily life is a journey. It might feel challenging at times, but with persistence, it can become a powerful tool for cultivating self-esteem, self-acceptance and a positive mindset.
Hey I’m Natalie, Supporting women like you on their road to self-acceptance and building their self-esteem is – as cliche as it sounds – my calling.