Wake Up To The Power Of One
The Law of Gratitude: How Gratitude Can Benefit Your Fitness Journey
Gratitude is the key to happiness, they say — but it could also be the secret key to your fitness journey.
Gratitude isn’t something you typically hear in conversations about fitness. But gratitude is everything. Practicing gratitude as a part of your fitness journey has the power to improve your happiness, your confidence, and your performance.
Practicing gratitude is simply the habit of consciously being grateful, ready, and open to showing appreciation and kindness to all things in your life. Gratitude can be used as a type of mindfulness exercise or meditation — or a way to track your progress and see improvement at every step of your journey.
Research has shown that practicing gratitude is directly related to greater happiness, more positive emotions, and even improved physical health. If everyday use of practicing gratitude can have such positive impacts on our life, what would happen if we targeted that gratitude to a specific area of our life, like our health and fitness goals?
So don’t delay, be grateful today. Count your blessings instead of burdens and watch your performance soar!
Improved Self-Esteem & Confidence
Everyone experiences moments when you start to feel down on yourself. Maybe you didn’t place where you wanted in a competition or didn’t hit your workout goals for the day.
Letting these negative thoughts take over won’t benefit you or help you reach your goals. Instead of ruminating on negative emotions, you can acknowledge your feelings and start to put gratitude first. Show some appreciation for your body and what your body can do, even if you didn’t quite reach those goals. You still did something, taking positive action towards your objectives.
By reshaping these thoughts and approaching even the bad days with gratitude, you’ll build a stronger appreciation and gratefulness for your body, strength, and abilities. Even if it’s small, like feeling grateful for being able to walk, breathe, or live, show yourself gratitude and shift those emotions to the positive side. This one simple act can help you keep going on your journey and push through the bad days.
Improved Stress Management
Research has shown that people who regularly practiced gratitude showed a reduction in the stress hormone cortisol and were able to process negative emotions and experiences better than those who didn’t engage in gratitude practices. By appreciating more in your life, you can completely rewire how your brain processes negative experiences!
Reducing stress and better managing those negative emotions will allow you to be grateful for all parts of your journey, not just the good stuff.
Success isn’t linear; life isn’t linear. Reflecting on the process, celebrating even the tiny wins, and seeing that every part of the process is still moving you forward will help you enjoy the process, making you more motivated to keep going.
Improved Performance & Goal Attainment
With all these happier feelings, less stress, and more motivation, it’s a no-brainer that gratitude will also lead to improved overall performance. Studies have found that gratitude can motivate positive behaviours that lead to self-improvement and goal attainment. Specifically, a psychological study by Nathaniel Lambert found that gratitude “leads people to believe they deserve positive outcomes for themselves and are capable of achieving them.”
If you believe it, you can be it. And gratitude can only strengthen this process. Gratitude is proven to be a motivating emotion, encouraging positive action and propelling you forward.
How Can You Start Practicing Gratitude?
1. Start a gratitude journal
Take five minutes out of your day to write five things down that happened that day that you’re grateful for. Doing this once a day, or even starting once a week, will help you get in the habit of appreciating the little things and begin making it an automatic part of your thought process.
2. Use a gratitude app
If journalling isn’t your thing, there are tons of apps to help you practice gratitude. Apps like I Am will help you set daily affirmations for yourself, and you can choose from preset ones or create your own. Or check out Gratitude Jar and 5 Minute Journal to help guide you through simple gratefulness questions and adopt gratitude in a small, manageable way.
3. Show gratitude for those around you
Showing gratitude and thankfulness to people around you will make you and the person you’re thanking feel great. The most effective gratitude expression should describe what the person did, acknowledge their effort in, and describe how you benefited.
Make them feel good while improving your relationship and your personal happiness. Win-win!
4. Make it part of your routine
Practicing gratitude doesn’t always come easily or feel natural. In the beginning, it can feel a little forced, especially when you don’t actually feel grateful at that moment. Just like physical exercise, your mind might need to work a little bit to get it in shape and in the right mindset. It might not feel amazing at first, but the benefits are immediate. And, just like physical exercise, it gets easier over time.
“Enjoy the little things. For one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” – Robert Brault
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