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Letting Go of Expectations: Why Gratitude Is Scientifically Proven To Make You Happy

By Sarah Williams, Editor
Wingman Magazine

Expectations can be dangerous. Have you noticed how they become bigger and bigger, until we start expecting so much from ourselves, others around us and life itself, than we end up disappointed no matter how things turn out? Expectations ruin your happiness and peace of mind.

That’s why it’s important to learn how to manage them and keep them to a realistic level, or to simply let go of them.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. But there is one quick solution to letting go of expectations and it lies in gratitude. Being grateful and focusing on the things you have instead of on those you lack in life is a fantastic way to change your whole reality and open your eyes to the abundance around you.

But that’s just the beginning. Gratitude has many more benefits and they are science-backed. Let’s see how exactly it can make you so happy that you’ll never expect too much from anyone or anything anymore.

Gratitude improves your mental health.

To begin with, research suggests that giving thanks changes your brain and is good for your mental health. And as we all know, people whose mental well-being is under control aren’t stressed, anxious or depressed. Instead, they are fulfilled, energetic, motivated and happy. This research, in particular, required participants to write gratitude letters. This way they expressed their kindness and put what they appreciate on paper, which helped them internalize it and immediately increased their happiness levels. When people are aware of how much they have, and appreciate their social connections, health, safety of their environment, they also tend to be less shy and happier instead.

Being thankful helps you focus on the good in everything.

Unhappy people are also negative. They tend to complain a lot, expect too much from others and see problems instead of opportunities. But grateful people are optimistic. They wake up every day and count their blessings and that helps them only concentrate on the good in them, those around them and in the world.

Grateful people are healthier.

To be in harmony and satisfied with your life, you’ll also need to be in good health. Multiple studies have proven that gratitude helps people improve their sleep, heart health, and immune system, overcome depression, cope with stress, and much more. Gratitude is also connected to vitality. A simple exercise such as a gratitude journal can significantly improve sleep quality, reduce physical pain, and lead to fewer health issues in the long-run. All these benefits combined mean you can live a longer and happier life the moment you focus on all that you have and thank for it.

MindTrip MagazineYou will build better relationships.

A truly happy person is also one who has meaningful relationships. Being thankful can help with that aspect of life too. You appreciate people in your surroundings more and choose not to judge them or expect more from them. You are present when they are around and simply enjoy their company. That raises their energy levels and they respond with kindness and love.

The effect of gratitude on both parties is amazing and researchers have found out its benefits too. It makes the recipient feel great and treat you better but it also leaves you with a more pleasant feeling. The communication is clear, your intention is good and that’s all that matters.

Becoming a more grateful individual can help you fix relationships from the past, improve your current ones, form a deeper connection with your partner and relatives, and meet new people who you may have not noticed before, who are also grateful and become friends more easily. If you’re only surrounded by people you thank for every day and if they see that and feel loved, you can only expect good vibes and a great social life.

Increase your self-esteem with gratitude.

That’s yet another bonus that comes as a result of being more thankful. To be happy, you need to feel comfortable with who you are, to accept yourself and your faults but to also be brave enough to admit them and work on your strengths instead. A happy person is a confident one, who doesn’t rely on other people’s opinion of him but creates his own. He has his path to walk and can see progress more often thanks to the initiative, determination and the ability to take risks.

To be more like that, make sure you count your blessings every day. Remind yourself of your good qualities and that all the mistakes you’ve made so far are an important part of your journey. They formed your character and helped you learn a lot. You are now better prepared and can reach success in any field.

In addition, gratitude helps you stop comparing yourself to others and feel inferior, which lowers your self-esteem. Instead, by giving thanks you’re more likely to appreciate other people’s accomplishments and feel happy about them. Resentment and lack of confidence won’t be part of your personality and daily life anymore. You will now believe in yourself and your abilities and increase your happiness thanks to gratitude.

Now that you know how gratitude can help you not just let go of expectations, but transform your whole life and improve your mental, physical and spiritual well-being, you must make a plan on how to make it a permanent part of your life. Begin by writing down a few things you’re thankful for each morning. Then, you can also do it before bed. This way your day will begin positively and it will end with gratitude too. Keeping a gratitude journal is what many successful people do even when they reach the top of their career. Start that today and you’ll soon feel happier and healthier.

Sarah is a rogue adventurer and the main editor at Wingman Magazine. She is passionate about helping men from around the world transform themselves into their best possible version.

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