Posted by Julia Daniels | For Families, For Men, For Women, How to
Reading Time: 11 minutes

“I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.” — Henry David Thoreau 

 

When you think of the good life, what comes to mind? Like the many shades of colors in a rainbow, answers will vary. How you answer this question may depend on how healthy your gratitude muscles are, though.

Gratitude helps you suck the marrow out of life, because you choose to be thankful, especially when life is hard. And it’s safe to say that many of us have been facing hard times due to the pandemic. A gratitude “reboot” is good for all of us!

Sunset over lake how gratitude empowers

The Essence of Gratitude

What is the essence of gratitude? When you are grateful, you acknowledge that your life is a gift that others have contributed to. Gratitude is both a conscious choice and an emotion.

A person who is truly grateful, doesn’t just mindlessly mumble “thank you” as a polite habit. True gratitude is a beautiful attitude. It’s a humble heart-awareness that other people enrich our lives. None of us can exist in a vacuum. We need each other! 

In fact, a life without gratitude is a life of emotional poverty. 

Practicing gratitude empowers you to reach your goals and quit porn faster! Why? Because gratitude is physically, mentally, and emotionally good for you. Here’s ten reasons we believe research proves this is true, plus five easy ways to practice gratitude today! 

10 Ways Gratitude Empowers You To Reach Your Goals {And Quit Porn Faster}

1. Gratitude helps you connect with others. 

How often do you actually say a meaningful thank you to someone? On a daily basis? What if changing this one thing could super-charge your day — and someone else’s? To get started create a simple gratitude list. This may include mentors, co-workers, children, spouses or significant others, and those in your community. Once you get started, you might actually find your gratitude list growing longer than your time! 

When you reach out to say thank you in a meaningful way, connecting with others becomes natural. And now, more than ever, we’re craving this human connection. Our pandemic masks have been hiding our smiles and sometimes our civility. 

Consider giving an old-fashioned hand-written thank you note, too. Even the act of writing a physical thank-you note breaks mental isolation and the self-focus of a porn habit. Plus, as a side note, too much screen time simply is mentally unhealthy both for kids and adults, Porn use just adds to the screen overload, overstimulating and taxing your brain. 

2. Gratitude rewires your brain to be healthier and happier.

When you’re happy and healthy, it’s genuinely easier to accomplish goals. One study group consisting of people struggling with depression and anxiety agreed to a “gratitude writing intervention”. For those who participated, improvements in the medial prefrontal cortex of the brain were still visible three months later! 

The medial prefrontal cortex is the area of the brain responsible for long-term decision making and goal-setting. So if you’re stimulating positive responses, that will go a long way.

The reward center of the brain also benefits from feelings of gratitude which stimulate the release of a “shot of dopamine” naturally but not excessively.  Learn how porn also affects the reward center of the brain but in a negative way.

3.  Gratitude reminds you to not sweat the small stuff.

The easy response when the little things in life go wrong is to grumble or let off steam. But when you pause and take a moment to reframe your circumstances, gratitude works wonders

Whether you’re frustrated by working overtime to pay off student loans or by stepping on a Lego barefoot in the dark, a grateful heart reminds you to be thankful for the job or for your little child who left out the Legos. 

One sweet example of this is the story of the Dad who never failed to compliment his wife’s cooking. One busy morning after his mom burnt the toast, the son asked his father why he said thank you for the burnt toast that day. “Why, son, even burnt toast tastes good when it’s served with love. I’ve never doubted that your mother loves me.” 

4. Gratitude empowers you to accomplish your goals. 

Who has inspired you? Who has invested in your life? When you stop and gratefully remember those people, quitting becomes less of an option. You may need to pivot your goals, but you’ll dust yourself off and keep going! 

One inspiring example of gratitude as a powerful motivator is Helen Keller. Born healthy in 1880, a terrible disease made little Helen profoundly deaf and blind at 19 months old. Trapped and unable to communicate, Helen’s angry, wild behavior drove her parents to the brink of despair. 

In 1887, Helen’s life changed miraculously when her father hired a new tutor named Annie Sullivan. 

Through Ms. Sullivan’s caring, patient, and innovative methods, Helen learned to read Braille, write, even speak. A whole new exciting world of possibilities and accomplishments opened up for Helen. She set her sights on going to college! With Ms. Sullivan, fondly known as “Teacher” by her side, Helen attended Radcliffe College. Helen was the first deaf-blind person to graduate from college in 1904, cum laude no less.

In fact, she went on to become one of the most traveled, influential, and interesting people in the 19th century according to Mark Twain. She encouraged millions of disabled people, working for the American Foundation for the Blind for more than 40 years. 

Here’s one of Helen’s grateful tributes to Ms. Sullivan:

“My teacher is so near to me that I scarcely think of myself apart from her. How much of my delight in all beautiful things is innate, and how much is due to her influence, I can never tell…All the best of me belongs to her--there is not a talent, or an aspiration or a joy in me that has not been awakened by her loving touch.” — Helen Keller, The Story of My Life

Book Cover picture of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan - How Gratitude Empowers You

If Helen could reach her goals because of love and gratitude for her beloved Teacher, you can, too! Is one of your goals quitting porn in 2022? Check out our post on how to quit porn.

5. Gratitude encourages your accountability partners and other mentors.

If you are being encouraged in your journey to quit porn by an accountability partner, your regular grateful “thanks” is a huge motivator to your partner as well. Like parents, sometimes our mentors can feel like they’re taken for granted. Taking time for heartfelt thanks benefits everyone involved — the grateful giver and the encouraged receiver. 

Even the encouragers need encouragement!

“Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.” – G.B. Stern

6. Gratitude helps you sleep better. 

The Reward Foundation, an educational charity that studies the science of love and sex notes a basic mental effect of too much gaming or using internet porn: “People end up ‘wired and tired’ and unable to concentrate on work the next day.“

According to studies from neuroscience, “Gratitude activates the hypothalamus as well, with downstream effects on metabolism, stress, and various behaviors. (5) The hypothalamus is located at the base of the brain and regulates hormones responsible for many critical functions, such as body temperature, emotional responses, and survival functions like appetite and sleep.”

Since turning to porn is often an escape mechanism causing loss of sleep, intentionally turning to gratitude could be a game-changer in dealing with this reality! 

7. Gratitude enables you to work through grief, loss, and trauma. 

When I first put my ideas down, this point flowed naturally from my personal experience, but I researched this to be certain. I was not surprised, though, to discover that there’s a host of evidence for the healing power of gratitude over time. Remembering and being grateful for every beautiful moment with a loved one is helpful. A regular practice of gratitude also has been a proven help for veterans or trauma victims suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. 

Does gratitude make light of your loss or pain? No! Feeling both deep grief and gratitude are actually healthy emotions. Here’s what Joseph Burgo, PhD explains about grief and gratitude in Psychology Today.  

“The ability to feel profound grief and gratitude, I believe, are the hallmarks of mental health…Can you grieve for the damage that you’ll never completely transcend but at the same time feel grateful for the actual good in your life?”

His answer is a resounding yes

8. Gratitude breeds more gratitude. 

While gratitude is clearly a choice and not initially an emotion, the emotions that flood from a heart that choose gratitude are contagious.

Want to be the change-maker in your home or workplace? We double-dog dare you to express gratitude with a warm smile frequently! Then take notes of the responses. 

A gratitude dare can be really, really fun! 

9. Gratitude teaches you to value people more than things. 

While the saying, “the best things in life are not things” seems like a worn-out cliche, many of us have someone in our life who has stuck by our side through thick and thin. 

Remember the child’s story of the Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams? If not, enjoy this favorite quote of mine: 

“Generally, by the time you are real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Who are those people in your life who have loved you until they’re loose in the joints and their hair has been loved off?  Some of the best time, energy,  and money you’ll ever spend will be showing appreciation to them. That kind of love is priceless! 

The Velveteen Rabbit

10. Gratitude keeps hope alive. 

When you’re truly grateful, you benefit from remembering what truly matters in life. So when life seems like it’s falling apart at the very seams, gratitude shifts your focus away from the unraveling threads. 

Dr. Margie Warrell, writing about gratitude for Forbes magazine, shares this about her dad whom she describes as radiantly joyful: 

“My father never owned a pair of shoes until he was 12, left school at sixteen and spent nearly 50 years milking cows, morning and night. Dad lost his youngest son—my brother Peter—to mental illness and supported his oldest son—my brother Frank—to readjusting to life in a wheelchair when an accident left him with paraplegia. Now at 86, he’s buried most of his friends. Yet dad would happily tell you that he feels like the richest man in all the world. Needless to say, when speaks of being rich, he’s not referring to his stock portfolio (never had one), but to the wealth of love in his life.”

Gratitude reminds you that life is good, even in terrible times like the Holocaust as the 1997 Italian movie, Life Is Beautiful portrays. An Italian Jew named Guido finds ways to bring joy to his family, and in the end to his young son, even in a Nazi concentration camp. 

“Gratitude takes nothing for granted. It shines a spotlight on all that is good, amplifying its presence, and reframing your ‘problems’ through a larger lens that liberates you to respond more constructively, less resentfully.” —  Dr. Margie Warrell

In the end, reaching a goal like quitting porn has much to do with fueling hope that feeds desire and determination to improve the quality of your life. Cultivating gratitude keeps the spark of hope alive when you’ve experienced set-backs.

Bonus: If you’re religious, gratitude reminds you of the good, good Giver of all gifts.

We welcome customers and readers of differing traditions from around the globe. As we celebrate our American Thanksgiving holiday, though, we gratefully remember a band of plucky pilgrims from our history. Seeking a new life, about 102 people sailed from England, landing in 1620 in what is now known as Plymouth, Massachusetts. Only 53 people survived sickness, bitter cold, and starvation to see their first harvest in 1621.

Together with 90-plus native Americans, they gave thanks to God, feasting and celebrating for three days — the first “official” Thanksgiving.

Their governor William Bradford wrote about this in his record Of Plimoth Plantation if you’d like to read his account.

Painting of the Pilgrims signing the Mayflower Compact
Image Credit — Bettman Archive Getty Images, The Mayflower Compact

5 Easy Ways To Cultivate Gratitude In Your Daily Life

1. Start a gratitude list. 

Popular writer Ann Voskamp highlights this in her book One Thousand Gifts — A Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are. It’s easy to have good intentions and not follow through. How about making Ann’s initial goal your own —  gradually create a list of 1,000 reasons that you’re personally grateful? 

Creating a list over time is both powerful and freeing. If you’ve ever done this, you’ll find your heart overflowing with gratitude again when you read back through your list. 

The good news is that you can choose to be grateful for the smallest of good things: hugs from friends, a beautiful feather, the sunlight filtering through golden autumn leaves, a dog’s toothy grin, or the flavor of your favorite beverage. Every single grateful moment counts! So go ahead and get started. 

2. Schedule a moment of gratitude on your calendar. 

Sometimes we get so busy, it feels like we barely have time to breathe! Scheduling gratitude moments is a way to overcome this. How important is it for you to choose gratitude? We tend to schedule things we think are important! What counts as a gratitude moment? Just saying, “Thank You!” out loud is a start. 

Perhaps schedule your gratitude moment at bedtime if you struggle with anxiety or insomnia. That would be an interesting personal experiment to conduct.

3. Choose to thank someone every single day. 

If you schedule gratitude on your calendar, make a note to self, also, to actually thank someone in person. You could thank your child for doing a chore. Remembering to thank your spouse for their specific contributions — or simply for being a wonderful human — is another big domestic win. Showing gratitude to your partner is also a powerful way to rebuild trust and intimacy while fighting against porn. 

4. Thank those who have thankless jobs. 

People who make the world run smoothly, but don’t have a high pay-grade are especially liable to be forgotten. Thanking them sincerely not only brightens their day, it helps you become a more emotionally intelligent person. Garbage collectors, mail or package delivery carriers, cashiers, front-desk receptionists, janitors and maids, factory employees, and customer service representatives are just a few of those who should make this list. 

We want to live in a world that values the contributions of others, small and great! Showing gratitude expresses to others their value and worth. 

5. Create a shared gratitude jar.

Unless you live alone, this is a beautiful, easy way to cultivate a habit of gratefulness. If you have a jar, a pencil, and some 3×5 cards, you’re in business. At some point — during a family gathering — Thanksgiving or not, empty the jar and take turns reading the gratitude notes out loud. 

Middle schoolers and highschoolers can be notoriously hard on themselves and others around them. A creative teacher I knew asked her students to write down something positive that they were grateful for about another student. This exercise snowballed into each one trying to outdo the other. In the end, the students received a copy of the good things that were written about them. Priceless!

If your family has trouble with this exercise, perhaps you can model this by writing a note of gratitude about each of them first, Then up the challenge, and ask for as many reasons as they can think of for being thankful for each other. 

 

“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes of which all men have some.” – Charles Dickens

Conclusion

In conclusion, what if you could create a Thanksgiving blizzard of gratitude? One thing is for sure, research clearly demonstrates that empowers you and those around you to be healthier and happier. 

Maybe you’ve hit a rough patch in life. Or like many, the holiday season triggers difficult memories for you. Some gentle moments of gratitude might be just what the doctor ordered! 

We’re deeply grateful for the powerful, positive stories of our customers who are reaching their goals to quit porn. So many of you have stopped by to give us a positive Google review. You’re so brave and beautiful! Thank you for sharing your journey to accountability and freedom from porn with us. 

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