Cancer. Autoimmune Disease. Chronic Illness. Death. Financial problems. Divorce. Relationship problems. Our journey as humans doesn’t always come with rainbows and puppy kisses. The rough patches are inevitable. But they don’t have to be disastrous. Did you know that practicing gratitude helps to build your fortitude? Science even proves it! Read on to learn how gratitude builds fortitude during the storms of life. It’s a must-have for your coping arsenal.
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My mother taught me about fortitude. She was diagnosed with Addison’s Disease when she was pregnant with me. Throughout her life, her health has continued to worsen but she never let that get the best of her. “It builds fortitude,” she always says. She lives each day to the fullest and is grateful for everything she has, despite knocking on death’s door more often than not.
It’s a mantra that my mother passed along to me, and it wasn’t until I was diagnosed with breast cancer did I fully understand what it meant. It’s finding that inner strength and grit, even during the most difficult of seasons. I’ve since embraced this philosophy so much that I created Pink Fortitude as a platform to help inspire others to find their fortitude.
There is scientific backing to how gratitude builds fortitude. Here’s how and why it works.
7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude
According to this article from Psychology Today, there are 7 scientifically proven benefits of gratitude:
1. Gratitude opens the door to more relationships.
2. Gratitude improves physical health.
3. Gratitude improves psychological health.
4. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression.
5. Grateful people sleep better.
6. Gratitude improves self-esteem.
7. Gratitude increases mental strength.
The Science of How Gratitude Builds Fortitude
Let’s look at the scientific studies addressing the benefits specific to psychological health and mental strength, which both contribute to how gratitude builds fortitude.
Robert Emmons, PhD., the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. According to his research, gratitude increases happiness and reduces depression.
According to Emmons, “There’s a number of studies showing that in the face of serious trauma, adversity, and suffering if people have a grateful disposition, they’ll recover more quickly. I believe gratitude gives people a perspective from which they can interpret negative life events and help them guard against post-traumatic stress and lasting anxiety.” The research from Emmons and others confirms that gratitude increases happiness and reduces depression.
- In a 2008 study conducted by Alex Wood for the Journal of Research in Personality shows that gratitude blocks toxic and negative emotions such as envy, resentment, and regret. It’s difficult to feel envious and grateful at the same time.
- A 2006 study in Behavior Research and Therapy conducted with Vietnam War veterans found that those with higher levels of gratitude had lower scores of PTSD.
- A 2003 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology looked at gratitude as a major factor in resilience after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
These are just a few examples of scientific studies that prove how a practice of gratitude builds fortitude, inner strength, grit, and resilience. Remember – gratitude and negative emotions can’t share the same space. #winning.
How to Build Your Gratitude and Fortitude
We walk through this in greater detail in 25 Easy Ways to Practice Gratitude but here are the basics.
Learn how to be grateful to yourself. First, practice gratitude towards yourself, and then once you have that mastered, begin to practice gratitude towards others. You need to fill your own cup first because an empty cup doesn’t have water to share. Once you have this down, it will be easy to be abundant with your gratitude toward others.
Send gratitude to others. When you are ready, turn that gratitude towards others. There is a seismic movement that happens when you shift your gratitude towards others. By filling others, you double down on what is given back to you. Isn’t it beautiful how life works?
Start a gratitude journal. With a gratitude journal, you can keep this list of ideas, create your own, or even keeping track of your own gratitudes. Find a beautiful journal (like our signature line of Gratitude Builds Fortitude journals) that inspires you and take it everywhere you go.
Isn’t that beautiful? Start your gratitude practice, and watch how your gratitude builds your fortitude. Be sure to write down how you are feeling and track your progress in your journal!
The strength, grit, and fortitude are inside of you, waiting to be unleashed. Claim it. Own it. I have faith in you. You’ve got this, my friend.
Are you Inspired?
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Love, hugs, and building my fortitude one gratitude at a time.HERE. Sources https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201504/7-scientifically-proven-benefits-gratitude https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/profile/robert_emmons https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0092656607001286 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0005796705000392 https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/psp/