Practicing gratitude has incredible effects that can make a huge difference in your life, from improving your physical and mental health to building better personal and professional relationships. Plus, there’s abundant research to back up the benefits of practicing gratitude.
What Happens When You Practice Gratitude
Being grateful is a life hack that is easy to do and has guaranteed long-lasting results. Great things await those who practice gratitude. Here are some of its most rewarding benefits:
You will feel less stressed.
Gratitude enables us to see the positive or the good in not-so-great circumstances and not be overwhelmed by problems that are usually beyond our control. Practicing gratitude pulls us out of our negative mindset and helps us put things into perspective. This strategy allows us to control how we view situations so we don’t get easily upset or stressed about things that are not really as awful as we thought they were.
You will be more confident.
One of the ways you can believe in yourself more is through practicing gratitude consistently. Many studies have found that people who are grateful have higher self-esteem. Practicing gratitude daily boosts self-esteem, has a strong positive impact on your psychological well-being and helps fight depression. Being aware of your small wins will help you feel better about your circumstances, which will help you feel better about yourself. Greater life satisfaction improves self-confidence.
You will be healthier.
The wonderful effects of practicing gratitude go beyond improving our psychological well-being. It can help improve our physical health in many ways too. Practicing gratitude is good for your heart, lowers blood pressure and can boost your immune system.
Getting enough sleep is also important for good health. Practicing gratitude can help us feel more at peace and get better sleep. In a study of 401 participants, 40% of whom had clinically impaired sleep, those who practiced gratitude more reported falling asleep more quickly; sleeping longer and with better quality; and waking up feeling more refreshed. In the same study, evidence was found that participants who practice gratitude sleep better due to having fewer negative thoughts and more positive ones at bedtime.
You will have better and healthier relationships.
Gratitude makes us more kind, social, appreciative and open. Consequently, we’re able to make more friends and strengthen our existing relationships. People who express their gratitude to their friends are more likely to be perceived in a positive light.
When it comes to romantic relationships, one study suggests that showing gratitude to our significant others every day is a booster-shot that increases connection and satisfaction.
Practicing gratitude also makes a difference in building relationships at the workplace. Saying “thank you”—whether it’s face-to-face, via email or with a handwritten note—is a simple yet effective way to let people know that they’ve done something valuable and meaningful to you. Gratitude acknowledges humans, and its effect is both instant and long-lasting.
Another study shows that appreciation results in a 50% increase in additional help being offered in the workplace. On top of that, it comes with increased motivation, energy, and a willingness to extend help again, on top of a more positive morale overall.
You will have a better chance at advancing your career.
Gratitude can help boost your career. It can make you a more effective manager, improve your decision-making abilities, boost your productivity and help you network. A leader who practices gratitude encourages others to do the same and creates a positive impact on company culture. A human leader will make the workplace a happier and more productive environment that will retain and attract top talent.
You will be happier.
Research conducted by two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons & Dr. Michael E. McCullough shows that participants who wrote down things they were grateful for over a span of 10 weeks were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. They also exercised more, which is significant because exercise releases endorphins and triggers positive feelings in the body.
Gratitude is also proven to promote positive emotions, reduce envy and increase our resilience. We’re happier when we focus on what we have instead of what we lack.
How to Practice Gratitude
Start reaping the benefits of practicing gratitude. Here are some exercises that can help you get started:
This is ideal for visual learners. Create a mood board of all the things you are thankful for, and place it in a spot where you can see it often. This works well to remind yourself to be grateful every day.
Don’t stop saying “thank you.”
Saying “thank you” doesn’t cost you a thing, and you shouldn’t hesitate to say it. The more you say thank you, the more you feel great about expressing gratitude as you see a positive response from the recipient.
Keep a gratitude journal.
Write down the things you are grateful for every day in a journal. For example, you can include a favorite moment you have from that day. Recount the ways people have helped you or made you happy on that day. You could also simply list the things you are grateful for that day. Be specific. What makes gratitude journaling great is that you are able to notice the new things you are grateful for every day, even the small things.
There are so many ways you can practice gratitude. Prayer and meditation also work for many people. You can also try doing volunteer work or giving back to your community. Whatever your methods are, practicing gratitude will have a positive, long-lasting impact on your health and well-being.
In love and respect,