Updated: Feb 1, 2021
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ― Albert Einstein
We all have an innate understanding of the value that gratitude can have in our lives but how often do we apply it? It’s so easy for us to feel our emotions and turn situations into a more negative perspective and experience. We usually have to remind ourselves what the role of gratitude plays in our lives and it’s full effects and benefits.
Our most important act of gratitude is to ourselves and to acknowledge the tiny things that happen to us in our life. When we can be grateful for the moments we have, the resources that are accessible to us and those in our lives, we live a life filled with illumination. When we can take a moment to reflect on the goodness in our lives, it sets us up to hold more space to receive more kindness and love within ourselves and in our relationships.
The effects of gratitude ripple outward to improving our relationships, our physical and mental health and an increased compassion and empathy.  When we can see the abundance in our lives, we strengthen our own value and self-esteem and move out of a mindset of scarcity and lack. We can take a situation that was once perceived as “bad” and find the lesson in it, hence the gratitude in learning something new about ourselves, no matter the outcome. It’s not about dismissing what may feel bad. Instead it’s about understanding the value in giving us a new perspective that we didn’t have before. Even if the emotions around it are difficult.
Overall benefits of gratitude are:
Better health - physical / mental
The science behind gratitude - how it affects the body.
When we practice gratitude, it has a direct effect on our body. It helps to reduce stress and depression and also benefits our immune system, lower our blood pressure and lets us sleep better.
When we create mindfulness in our lives, our body is listening and has a direct effect on it. With gratitude, we start to build a stronger immune system, reduced aches and pain, lower blood pressure. A grateful mindset drives healthier lifestyle choices to want to exercise and take better care of one’s health. There is also the experience of sleeping longer to attain more rest and feeling rejuvenated when waking.
Psychologically, when we can shift our emotions to feeling good, we start to eliminate toxic ones faster. We have a great capacity to feel more joy and pleasure, become more optimistic and happy throughout the day. And we start to feel more awake and alive when we take time to acknowledge how life has given us benefits.
“Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.” ― Lionel Hampton
Why is gratitude so powerful?
A leading scientific world expert, Robert Emmons, shares two important aspects on practicing gratitude, which he further describes in his essay “Why Gratitude is Good.” 
The first aspect of gratitude is that “it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received.” It's our conscious awareness that creates a mindful appreciation and approach in shifting our perspective.
The second part, he continues, “we recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves… We acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.”
By acknowledging this insightful emotion, it strengthens our relationship with humanity. It becomes the fabric of our community, giving and receiving. It layers in a supportive dimension by learning how to repay or pay such kindness forward.
“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” ― Voltaire
How does applying a daily practice of gratitude change your life?
When we can start appreciating and applying a daily practice of gratitude, we start to celebrate the present. We live in the now and magnify our emotions outward. It helps us find deeper compassion and empathy. It lets us be more outgoing and feel less lonely and isolated as we extend ourselves to those around us, by sharing and embodying our grateful emotions.
When we can start to highlight and appreciate what we have in our life, we start to see detailed benefits and less likely to take something for granted. Even something as simply as being grateful for the food we put in our system. Being grateful that we have the ability to have food on our plate and hopefully nutritious food, is an easy daily practice that lets us enjoy the simplest of pleasures.
A constant practice of gratitude builds up resilience to stress, anger, envy, resentment and regret. In a 2008 study by psychologist Alex Wood in the Journal of Research in Personality, it showed that gratitude can reduce the frequency and severity of depression.
By feeling grateful for what has been provided for you and your well-being, a higher sense of self-worth gets created. When we recognize the value of what someone else has done for us, we can start to see the value in ourselves. Especially when we’re faced with challenges and difficulties in our circumstances. It helps us learn to let go of control as we step aside and accept what others have to offer us.
"Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out." ―John Wooden
Leaving a legacy of gratitude and generosity
The sociologist Georg Simmel called it “the moral memory of mankind.” Leading with gratitude lets us express our generous behavior and leave a positive impact and legacy in the world. We may never truly know the results our gratitude has on people, but we can be assured that someone will benefit from it.
We learn early on that the world can be cruel and difficult and that there isn’t always logic to why things happen to people. When we find small ways to incorporate gratitude into our culture and society, we can shift that thinking into knowing that sometimes we can get more than we deserve. And for that we are eternally grateful.
How will you leave a legacy of gratitude and generosity in this world?
Intuitive Energy Healer
Amy Morin (2015) 7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201504/7-scientifically-proven-benefits-gratitude
Robert Emmons (2010) Why Gratitude Is Good https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_gratitude_is_good