The Benefits of GratitudeThere are many benefits of gratitude. When you practice it consistently, you will reap the rewards. Studies show that gratitude can have an improvement in many areas in life including mental, emotional, physical wellbeing, as well as our sleep patterns and relationships. Don’t just take our word for it, read on to see what health experts have to say about the topic.
Researchers at the Department of Health at Harvard found that gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.
According to Psychology Today, gratitude has scientifically proven benefits including:
- More and stronger relationships
- Better physical health
- Improved psychological health
- Enhanced empathy and reduces aggression
- Better sleep
- Improved self-esteem
- Increased mental strength
Results from The Greater Good Science Center found that participants who kept an online gratitude journal for two weeks reported better physical health, including fewer headaches, less stomach pain, clearer skin, and reduced congestion. These results are consistent with a 2003 paper published by Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough. In that study, college students who wrote about things they were grateful for just once a week for ten weeks reported fewer physical symptoms (such as headaches, shortness of breath, sore muscles, and nausea) than students who wrote about daily events or hassles.
"If you’re really stuck in negativity, you can keep it even simpler. Gently notice something around you that brings you just a bit of joy. Maybe it’s the snack you’re eating or the sound of rain falling. Just appreciate." - Gabby Bernstein
What Gratitude is not"Being grateful is not the same as being complacent, it just allows me to worry less" - Dan Harris
It is not about ignoring reality and world events but instead refocusing our attention on the abundance we do have as well as the things we can control. It is about allowing us to take a step back from the dizzying world around us, to take a breath, start with a mindset of appreciation then allow ourselves to tackle the day with more clarity and intention.
"Where your focus goes, energy flows" - Darren Hardy
Some Simple Things You Can Try TodayGratitude rampage - Spend 5 uninterrupted minutes to write down everything you are grateful for on a piece of paper. They can be simple and short like having my health, appreciating mother nature - the sun, the fresh air you breathe, the sound of the ocean, appreciating the people/animals in your life like your family, friends, pets, etc.
Gratitude journal - Start the day by writing down 3 things you are grateful for every day. Extra credit: End your day by also writing 3 things you are grateful for. Use a gratitude journal to expand on the 3 things or simply list them or use a bullet journal that shows an entire month of entries. As the page fills up throughout the month, you will see just how much you have been grateful for.
Write a thank you or appreciation note - Has someone done something nice for you or are you just grateful they are in your life? Write them a physical thank you note and send it via snail mail. If this is too much effort, do it in a way that is natural for you. It could be via email, text, Instagram or Facebook message letting them know you appreciate them. It will make their day and yours too.
Thank someone mentally and send them good vibes - If you don’t have time to write a thank you note, mentally thank your loved ones instead. Think about them and all that you appreciate about them, give the thought detail so you can really feel it then say thank you and send them your love. You can also do this while you are out in public. When you see someone when you are out and about, you can send them good vibes.
Meditate - When you are meditating, use the quiet time to think about all the abundance in your life, the support you have, the beauty around you. When you focus and truly appreciate what you have, you will continue to get more of it.
Don’t complicate or over think any of these methods, just do what works for you. As you get more consistent with your practice, you will continue to appreciate more of what you have. Despite everyone having varying wants and ideas around what a fulfilled life looks like, can't we all agree we all just want to live a life of happiness and joy? If gratitude and happiness are linked, it's really a no brainer if you ask us and we can't really afford to put it off any longer. So go ahead and pick up that pen and notebook and just start.
“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices." - Elizabeth Gilbert