Gratitude is the appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to oneself and represents a general state of thankfulness and/or appreciation. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.
In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.
A Few Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratefulness:
- Simply journaling for five minutes a day about what we are grateful for can enhance our long-term happiness by over 10% (Emmons & McCullough, 2003; Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005)! It turns out that noticing what we already have can make us feel more positive about our live.
- A two week gratitude intervention increased sleep quality and reduced blood pressure in participants, leading to enhanced well-being (Jackowska, Brown, Ronaldson, & Steptoe, 2016). If you’re having trouble sleeping or just waking up feeling fatigued, try a quick gratitude journaling exercise before bed – it could make the difference between feeling groggy and great in the morning!
- A study on gratitude showed that participants experienced a 35% reduction in depressive symptoms for several weeks, while those practicing gratitude journaling reported a similar reduction in depressive symptoms for as long as the journaling continued (Seligman et al., 2005).
- Gratitude has been found to boost pro-social behaviours, such as helping other people who have problems or lending emotional support to another person. Thereby strengthening relationships and friendships. (the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology)
How to be more grateful?
People feel and express gratitude in multiple ways. They can apply it to the past (retrieving positive memories and being thankful for elements of childhood or past blessings), the present (not taking good fortune for granted as it comes), and the future (maintaining a hopeful and optimistic attitude).
We all have the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. Simply take a few moments to focus on all that you have – rather than complain about all the things you think you deserve. Developing an “attitude of gratitude” is one of the simplest ways to improve your satisfaction with life.
The simplest way to incorporate gratitude into your life is to make it a habit. Thankfully, cultivating a grateful attitude is possible, and it can be one of the easiest things you do for your health!
- A Daily List– Want to start the day off on a more positive and cheerful tone? Well then it’s a good thing you have this journal. Every morning list a few things that you are especially grateful for that particular day.
- Acts of Kindness– Doing a small, un-noticed, good deed each day can help boost the natural tendency to be grateful and look for the good in any situation.
- Reframe- Try to look at a situation from a different, more positive angle. For example, rather than a father seeing his 6-year-old daughter as cranky, irritable, and troublesome, he might reach the conclusion that the youngster is tired and needs rest.
Have a nice day!