Gratitude- a word often used but seldom adhered to. How many times have we actually taken the time to feel grateful about something? We often say that good things happen to other people, but why don’t we realize that at time we are the ‘other’ person for a lot of people out there.

When you feel grateful, you feel content, which in turn makes you feel happier. And it is this consistent feeling of happiness that helps to reduce and in due time, thoroughly remove the proneness to stress and anxiety.

Stress is a growing concern in today’s fast-paced life, and it is no more a demography-based problem. From high school students to retired professionals, everyone has something or the other to worry about.

It only takes a minute for you to stress out; any external or thought-related stimuli can send your mind in turmoil and you start to feel the symptoms of stress- tightening of the chest, short shallow breathing, feeling of restlessness, loss of appetite, headache, and profuse sweating.

There are a lot of stress-busting techniques like deep breathing and using positive affirmations to calm down. But one sure formula that instantly helps to alleviate stress is counting your blessings.

Gratitude works not just on your mental health but also on your physical well-being. When you instantly shift your focus from the cause of stress to thinking and being grateful about every blessing that you have in life, you feel much lighter, much in control of your life, and a part of the universe.

In fact, even if you are not stressed, just thinking that you have been granted more than enough gives you a sense of calm and you feel cherished.

With gratitude comes appreciation. So, when you truly feel thankful for relationships, career, job, money, or even health, you start to appreciate your current state in terms of these areas in life, even if it needs a little working upon. You start to consider whatever you have to be enough, which psychologically is a great stress reduction technique.

People often stress when their current quality of life or certain areas of the life do not match with their vision. So, if someone’s idea of a perfect body is a beefed up look with toned abs, they would not be happy at an overall healthy and fit body. When you feel grateful for whatever you have, this emotion and psychological feeling that ‘I don’t have enough’ tends to ebb away and you feel content.

This is the direct influence of practicing the act of gratitude. A secondary benefit is that the appreciation born out of gratitude leads to acknowledgement of the things that you have, recognition of its importance and the void that would have been in its absence, and expression of gratefulness either to you partner (in case of a relationship) or to God (for career, health, and other areas of life).

Isn’t it that when you truly feel happy in a relationship, you appreciate your partner more and express your love more often. This leads to better fulfilling relationships and hence less stress in that area.

Similarly, taking the time out to regularly practice the act of gratitude ensures that you keep stress at bay. Taking the time out once a week to sit in meditation and think about the ‘good’ things that you have, makes your subconscious mind aware of things that are important to you and which gives you happiness.

We tend to be so preoccupied in life that we completely forgo and take for granted even the most important things such as our health, relationships, and sometime even our own character traits.

So what do we do about it?

A simple way to practice the act of gratitude is to first realize everything you are grateful for. List down every small blessing, every materialistic and non-materialistic thing that you should feel grateful for and stick this up somewhere, on your wall, mirror, anywhere where you can constantly see this and be reminded of.

Another plus of adopting this technique is that when you are stressed you already have a list of things you feel grateful for, so it comes instantly to you or you can directly read from the list.

Counting your blessings and practicing the act of gratitude is not just a moral code, it actually helps to reduce stress, improves your mental and emotional health, and hence causes a marked difference in your physical health by improving the overall quality of your life.

So, the next time you feel you are about to come under pressure and feel stressed, start counting your blessings and you would instantly feel a sense of calm taking over you.

Want to take it a step further? Perform one kind action everyday and you would definitely have a lot of things to feel grateful for and happy about.

Author's Bio: 

My name is Mulyadi Kurnia. I am a practitioner of meditation and yoga and has been experiencing the benefits of the practices. Having gone through the periods of stress and anxiety myself, I know first hand of how unpleasant this experience could be. Through this article, I intend to share my knowledge and experience on stress-related and wellness topics. For more information on stress management and wellness tips, visit,