How Gratitude Helps You Live a Happier and Healthier Life
2020 has been one chaotic whirlwind and we are sure many of you agree. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we hope gratitude is coming to the forefront of your mind.
A question to ponder: When was the last time you actively gave thanks for the blessings in your life?
These blessings can be anything from good health to great friends, or from simply waking up each morning and currently being employed. All that matters is you show GRATITUDE each and every day. And we are here to show you how you can live a happier, healthier life with a gratitude attitude.
Gratitude – is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. (Dictionary.com)
How gratefulness can change your life for the better
1. Improves Mental and Physical Health
Grateful people tend to show less negative emotions like toxic jealousy, resentment,
aggression, and regret. All of these tendencies according to Robert Emmons, the author of The Psychology of Gratitude, help a person increase their overall happiness and decrease their chances of developing depression. Your self-esteem is shown to be connected to gratitude as well. A grateful attitude helps you appreciate the accomplishments of others without taking away from your own successes, and resenting others for what they have and/or achieve. There are many studies being performed on gratitude as we begin to understand that it is becoming a building block to happiness and good health.
According to a study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, spending 15 minutes before bed writing down what you are thankful for helps you get to sleep longer and more efficiently at night. And sleep, we all know, is essential to maintaining our physical and mental health.
In addition, gratitude may improve your physical health by increasing how much you value self-care, as well as developing self-control. This small thought alteration leads to better choices like exercising more, investing time in regular doctor visits, focusing on nutrition, and avoiding impulse purchases, and much more. You will find yourself actively seeking knowledge about how to improve your longevity.
2. Increase Mental strength and Decrease Stress
Research has shown that gratitude further reduces stress and aids in overcoming trauma, by increasing your mental strength. The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology says that people who practice thankfulness regularly are more resilient to obstacles (physical and mental) and can see the light in a dark storm.
The silver lining or glass is half full outlook on life.
3. Helps You Make New Friends
“Thank you” is a phrase we are all taught at a young age that exhibits good manners. However, those words are more powerful than you realize; gratitude plays a quiet role in making and maintaining strong, social relationships.
For example, the University of Kentucky performed a study around gratitude, showing that participants who were more grateful showed less aggression towards others and were less likely to strike back when presented with negative feedback. In conclusion, by having more empathy and less abrasive reactions you show promise for cultivating healthy, long relationships than a person who constantly feeds negative emotions.
Another benefit of gratitude in social relationships is shown by an experiment with scholars at Berkeley University. In summary, they used a “game” to demonstrate how “gratitude seems to correspond to positive changes in how much we value others. Generally speaking, we tend to feel grateful when a person does something nice for us—they delivered a benefit of some kind. As our experiment suggests, feelings of gratitude are explained by how much more we value our benefactor.” The experiment/article mentioned above shows us that the act of saying,” thank you” can create a snowball effect of mutual value; this simple act can bring a stranger up to an acquaintance and eventually elevate them to a lifelong friend.
CHALLENGE YOURSELF IN ONLY 15 MINUTES A DAY!!!
We want to challenge you this season to have an Attitude of Gratitude using only 15 minutes of your day. Follow this plan for the next 3 weeks each day and watch what happens to your days going forward:
- Wake up and set a time for 15 minutes. Grab a notebook and begin to write down all of the things you are grateful for in your life.
- Surround yourself with visual reminders of fond memories of your trip to a national park, a picture of you and your best friends laughing, or a gift from a loved one. Put them in a place you will see them.
- Remember how far you have come in your life. How have you succeeded? How long did it take to get yourself where you wanted to be? What did you have to overcome?
- Extra Credit: Write a thank you letter/note of encouragement to someone in your life who could use a pick-me-up! Thinking of others is a great way to change the beginning of your day!
Consider cultivating gratitude and you will be amazed by the opportunities and changes that follow. Instead of defaulting to what you feel you deserve, transform your thoughts, and focus on EVERYTHING YOU DO HAVE! We bet it is a lot.