5 Ways Gratitude Can Bring You Joy

The definition of gratitude is literally; the quality of being thankful, to show appreciation for and to return kindness. But the effects of gratitude are much more profound and powerful than you might expect. Here are 5 ways that gratitude can bring more joy to your life.


 Beautiful view of the sun setting by the ocean amongst the clouds. The view is from shore behind small bushes. At the top center is the word "gratitude" in cursive black writing.



1. Gratitude Requires Us to Be Present 

To be grateful means being thoughtful when in the moment. Being present (or mindful) allows us to handle the tougher moments in life and therefore; making room for more appreciation of what actually makes us happier. Life will often throw us curveballs, but it's our reactions to tough situations and our ability to endure that directly affect our overall happiness.

Being present or mindful can include:

  • Paying attention to your thoughts as well as actions
  • Directing yourself away from negative unproductive thoughts that do not serve you or your well being
  • Being aware of your surroundings and taking inventory of your environment.
  • Grounding one's self to the here and now



 2. Gratitude Has Magical Effects

Well call it what you want, but studies show that there are physical effects as the brain releases dopamine and seratonin when we express gratitude. While expressing gratitude our brains release a surge of dopamine; creating good feelings that motivate us to continue the behavior. Adding to the "magic", is the boost of serotonin, (aka the happiness chemical) that gives us warm and fuzzy feelings allowing for a more relaxed and stablized mood. These are two very convincing reasons why gratitude is an important part of a happier life.
 View of a sparkling purple night sky  with dark mountains in the backround


3. Gratitude vs Guilt

There are some people that have a more difficult time allowing themselves to be happy. They think they don't deserve it or believe somehow that it isn't right to feel happiness when there is suffering in the world or in their immediate circle.  A sad news story or tragic event could be enough to allow guilt to seep into their soul and block out any joy they are certainly entitled to. This can be especially difficult for those who tend to have highly empathetic personalities. Embracing joy and gratitude (though not easy for everyone) not only makes us stronger but it helps make us more able to bring joy and hope to others.


example : Gratitude vs Guilt

          guilt: I dont understand why i survived cancer and my friend's son did not.

          gratitude: I'm so grateful that I survived cancer and am able to be here for my children.


4. Gratitude Perpetuates Appreciation

When you consciously choose to be in the moment and have gratitude, a simple yet powerful side effect occurs; appreciation. Appreciation of those around you, and of life itself, is the end result. With appreciation we find joy in simple pleasures, such as the scent of seasons changing or the simple beauty of the sun setting behind the clouds and the burst of colors that it paints in the sky. You may start to realize that the little things we sometimes forget to notice and appreciate are not so little after all.


Immaculate reflection of the sky mirroring on water as the sun sets. View is from the shore.


5. Gratitude and Appreciation of Self 

Last but not least and perhaps the most important is appreciating ourselves and accecpting who we are. It's so easy for us to overlook the importance of recognizing that appreciating one's self, (faults included) can have a definative effect on the amount of joy we experience in our lives. Self appreciation and self growth are about accepting one's uniqueness and becoming the best version of you possible.
   Everyone has a different journey in this life. Be careful to appreciate yours and know that being kind to ourselves is an important step to finding more joy in this incredible life.


 Blonde woman, smiling sitting on yoga mat. She is wearing a t-shirt that says "gratitude attitude"

There is always something to be grateful for.

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