How Does Showing Gratitude Change Your Life

Ah, how to be happy and stress-free — one of life’s biggest questions. Perhaps you can start by showing gratitude. Read more for tips!

With the many global crisis such as flood, war, and of course the seemingly neverending pandemic, (ahem OMICRON!!!), it’s not surprising that many people show signs of anxiety and it does seem like we’ve less and less to be positive about. BUT, being grateful about the little things in life might just be your remedy from all the doom and gloom.

We often think showing gratitude isn’t a big deal. After all, it’s just saying ‘Thank you’ and smiling at someone isn’t it? Do these little things even make a difference though? Well, you’d be surprised by how much it does! Here’s why I think showing gratitude is important for students and how you can practise gratitude to change your life.

How does gratitude change your life?

1. You’ll feel less stressed


The ultimate reason to be thankful is none other than to feel less stressed. You might think, what does showing gratitude have to do with our emotions? Well, as students, we may often feel stressed from studies, assignments, classes, and a whole lot of things. Finding a little time to be grateful will help induce a little positive emotions in your daily life which leads to feeling less stressed. 

PS: Need some help to reorganise your college life? Here are some college life hacks to manage your workload.

2. You’ll feel happier


Similar to the first reason, showing gratitude makes us feel happier and more optimistic. In my perspective, we feel happy when showing gratitude because the person whom we’re showing gratitude to may also feel happy that they’re being appreciated. So, not only do we feel good, we’re influencing others to be happy too! 

Studies have also shown that gratitude has a strong positive impact on our psychological well-being. Besides, a research by Dr. Amy E. Keller from the Newport Psychoanalytic Institute also talks about how gratitude is rewarding for our body as it releases happy hormones such as dopamines, serotonin, and oxytocin. 

If you’d like to induce those happy pills, be sure to try out these mood-boosters.

3. It’ll improve your relationships


As students, it’s important to have good relationships with the people around us. Whether it’s with friends, parents, lecturers, or even strangers. Afterall, establishing good relationships with people might just help us along the way in figuring out your life pathway

When we show gratitude, we automatically grow closer with a person as we identify them as someone who responds to our needs. I’m usually more willing to build a relationship with a person when I feel grateful for something they’ve done for me — even if it’s just small actions like holding a door.

4. It’ll lead to positive actions


Being grateful doesn’t only feel good, it’ll also contribute to a ripple of positive actions. When we’re grateful for someone’s kindness towards us, we’re more likely to show kindness in return whether it’s to the same person or someone else. Afterall, they don’t say kindness is contagious for nothing. For example, if someone notices I’m feeling down and writes me a feel good note about myself, I’d be thankful and be inspired to pay it forward in the future. 

So, go kill them with kindness! 

How to practise gratitude?

1. Say ‘thank you’


I’m sure we’ve been taught to say ‘thank you’ since young, seeing how it’s top of the list for basic manners. Manners aside, it’s also the easiest way to show gratitude. Whether it’s spending a few seconds to thank a lecturer after class, a waiter for bringing food to the table, a classmate for helping out with homework, or your parents for fetching you to school — two words do make a difference! 

Not just that, you could spend some time by telling someone important that you care and let them know how much they mean to you. Whether it’s sending someone a physical note, giving them a surprise call, or just sending them a text, showing them your gratitude will surely make their day brighter.

2. Acknowledge people and service workers


Our security guards, cleaners, and teachers, as well as lecturers play very important roles at school. They work hard for us to have a safe, clean, and comfortable learning environment. So, the least we could do is to greet or smile at them to show our appreciation. Watch as their faces light up when you acknowledge them — that’ll make their day and yours better for sure!

3. U-turn your complains


Showing gratitude is the opposite of complaining. When you complain, you naturally feel that there’s nothing to be happy about in life. Yes, sometimes we can’t help but complain about things that distress us but talking about what makes our lives happy is definitely better than digging into someone else’s dirt. 

You can start by thinking of 3 things or people you’re grateful for each day and jot them down. Better yet, why not start journaling your thoughts about what makes you happy. In fact journaling is known to help reduce stress and keep you collected too!

4. Love yourself!


Last but not least, the most important person you need to thank is yourself. You can thank your mind and body for carrying and sustaining you throughout your days even when you’re exhausted physically, mentally, and emotionally. Give it a little sunlight and sweat it out by doing some stretches or a light workout. You can also keep your well-being in check by doing a little meditation to reset and thank yourself mindfully.

As we often take ourselves for granted, don’t forget to show yourself some love and know that you’re worthy just by being alive. You don’t have to do anything to prove you're worthy of life.

See how gratitude plays a huge role in our lives? Here’s your cue to find things to be grateful for daily and live your life to the fullest!

Isabel is currently pursuing Cambridge A Level at Taylor's College. She’s also a huge fan of K-pop and enjoys reading.

Need more contents to keep you mused? Sign up to be part of The Risers community!