The Importance of Gratitude

by Heather Burgoyne, Owner, Soar Pilates

In our fast-paced world, the daily chaos often obscures a profound tool for enhancing our health and happiness: gratitude.

Far from just a fleeting emotion, gratitude is a transformative mindset. This simple, yet impactful, practice can shift your life’s pattern from overwhelm to bliss.

At its heart, gratitude means acknowledging and cherishing life’s gifts, whether monumental or minute. This practice trains us to focus on abundance rather than absence.

Instead of obsessing over what we don’t have or how we stack up against others, gratitude teaches us to celebrate what we have. This can even apply to your fitness journey. Daily reflection on your progress, however incremental, can shift your viewpoint toward positivity.

Focus on what is happening on the inside and how movement is making you feel verses external appearance. It allows us to build resilience, making challenges and obstacles feel less daunting and more like stepping stones.

Studies reveal that the practice of gratitude can light up the brain’s reward pathways, releasing dopamine and serotonin — the “feel-good” neurotransmitters. This biological underpinning makes gratitude a self-reinforcing habit.

Think about the last time you were truly grateful for something. Did you express gratitude for it in some way? Or when you were on the receiving end of gratitude, how did it feel in your body? How did it affect your mood? If you answered that it felt good, that’s dopamine and serotonin at play.

When you feel good and reflect on your strengths and accomplishments, it leads to a healthier relationship with oneself. Instead of chasing societal standards of success or beauty, you come to embrace your unique journey as something to cherish.

Finding the time and space for gratitude can be simple:

  • Keep a gratitude journal: Jot down three things you are looking forward to or blessings for which you’re thankful.
  • Express it: Don’t hesitate to communicate your gratitude with loved ones, whether through a handwritten note, a text or a heartfelt conversation.
  • Mindfulness: Incorporate gratitude into your meditation or moments of quiet reflection.
  • Somatic movement: Be present in moving your body, focusing on the internal experience.
  • Shift your lens: Re-frame challenges as opportunities to grow and gain wisdom.

Incorporating gratitude into your daily regimen can lead to a comprehensive shift from your mental and emotional state to your relationships and even your physical well-being.