Thanksgiving has passed, but don’t let that prevent you from carrying gratitude through the holiday season (and beyond!).
Having a regular gratitude practice can have major benefits for both your psychological and physical health:
Optimists see negative events as temporary and limited in scope (rather than pervading your entire life!). When we practice gratitude, we are changing the way our brains choose to interpret events, and we tend to see more of the good in people and situations. As a result, the glass is always half-full.
Gratitude helps us feel more positive emotions, greater connection with others, and it helps us savor good experiences. All of these factors help us feel happier, and studies concur: people who practice gratitude regularly report feeling happier.
People who practice gratitude actually draw more success into their lives: you attract the goodwill of others, and since you are enjoying the success you already have, you seek out more success. Plus, when we experience failure (and we all do at times!), we are better able to put those failures into perspective and not let them hold us back from future successes.
Resilience is our ability to handle setbacks and difficulties in our lives, whether we experience a traumatic event or lose a loved one. Studies have shown that a regular gratitude practice actually boosts resiliency and helps us process and recover from such events. A study of veterans showed that those who had higher levels of gratitude were less likely to suffer from PTSD.
Gratitude boosts our self-esteem by helping us focus on the positive. Instead of thinking about all the ways we are lacking or not up to par, we are able to shift our focus to the things we appreciate about ourselves. Plus, gratitude has been shown to reduce social comparisons–making us appreciative of other people’s accomplishments rather than feeling envious or bad about ourselves in comparison.
6. Stronger immune system
Optimism is a major immune system booster, and since gratitude helps us feel more optimistic, it can make a difference in staving off that yearly flu. Plus, those who practice gratitude are also more likely to take care of their bodies by eating right and getting enough sleep, which also helps our immune systems function optimally.
In a study that followed nuns for 60 years, those who expressed greater levels of gratitude and positivity early in life lived an average of 10 years longer than those who did not. So if your goal is to make it to 100, start feeling grateful right now!
8. Better sleep
Those who practice gratitude throughout the day are more likely to have positive thoughts in their minds as they go to sleep at night. If you have trouble falling asleep because of those persistent worries and stressful thoughts, try cultivating a gratitude practice to help you sleep more peacefully.
9. Healthier relationships
A recent study found that the best predictor of marital quality was gratitude. Partners who are grateful for each other feel closer, more committed, and report feeling more satisfied with their relationships. A simple “thank you” for taking out the trash goes a long way!
WANT TO LEARN HOW TO ADD MORE GRATITUDE TO YOUR LIFE?
Register for my FREE 7-days of Gratitude Challenge! Starts Monday, December 7th.