Even though 2014 has not been an easy year for Malaysia, if we look hard enough, there are still things to be thankful for. We can begin the new year with regrets and complaints, but why not try to welcome the new year with a dose of gratitude?
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Wow. That dose of gratitude felt really good! And not just because of the butterflies in our tummy that it’s the first day of the year.
Research has shown that being thankful brings about plenty of health benefits, from better heart health to a better immune system.
The Science of Being Grateful
Studies have found that:
- People who spent 15 minutes jotting down what they’re grateful for in a journal before going to bed fell asleep faster and stayed asleep longer 
- Athletes who are grateful face lower risk of burning out and are more likely to experience high team and life satisfaction .
- Appreciation and positive emotions are linked to changes in heart rate variability, which could be beneficial in the treatment of hypertension 
- Grateful people were more likely to report helping someone with a personal problem or offering moral support to others. This strengthens relationships and makes you a better friend .
- Spouses and partners of participants in a gratitude study observed that their partners had higher levels of positive mood and lower levels of negative mood — the benefits of gratitude were noticeable to others .
Have you stopped to think about what you’re grateful for in 2014?
Sometimes we’re so preoccupied with looking ahead and worrying about the future, that we forget to be thankful for what we have now. In fact, science has proven that being grateful is one of the ways to be happy in life!
So, today, as our final challenge for you, try thinking of 5 things you’re grateful for right now. It won’t be hard, as you do have a lot to be thankful for.
Below are a few ways you can practise gratitude each day, so your life becomes better not because your circumstances have changed, but because your mindset has changed.
1. List down 5 things you’re grateful for each day / week
It doesn’t have to be big. It just has to be something that you’re truly thankful for.
2. Swap ungrateful thoughts with grateful ones
Weed out the ungrateful thoughts you have in your mind like “oh why did my car have to break down now??!” and try finding the silver lining in it. For example “whew! I’m lucky my car broke down so close to home!”.
3. Remember to express your gratitude to those around you
Instead of mumbling a thanks to your mom who religiously prepares your breakfast each morning, how about sparing some time to take her out for brunch one day to let her know how much her daily breakfast meant to you? When was the last time you expressed real gratitude to the guards who are keeping your neighbourhood or apartment safe? Have you said thanks to you colleague who stayed up the entire night finishing up that proposal when you were away on vacation?
Here’s to a great 2015 to all of us!
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