It’s that time of year again…the holidays are here!
As I sit here and write this, Thanksgiving is just around the corner and it’s the perfect time of year to reflect on what I’m thankful for.
While it’s nice to be thankful around this time of year, it’s even better to maintain that practice year round…which brings me to gratitude.
My first experience with keeping a “gratitude journal” was back in my Freshmen year of high school. I had a teacher who had us spend five minutes each day writing about whatever we were feeling thankful for. I’ve carried this practice on and off throughout my adult life and since then, I have to say that life is just better when I have “an attitude of gratitude”.
I wanted to highlight some of the benefits of gratitude in hopes that you may start to implement it into your own life…I promise it will be worth it!
Below you will find just a few of the benefits of practicing gratitude:
Gratitude makes you happier.
Did you know that something as short as practicing gratitude for five minutes a day can increase your long-term happiness and well-being by more than 10 percent?
Gratitude improves every aspect of your life…your health, emotions, relationships and even carereer. Plus, who couldn’t benefit from a 10% increase in happiness???
Gratitude makes you more optimistic.
Gratitude has been strongly correlated with optimism for a while now and there are actual studies to prove it!
In one study, they found that there was a 5% increase in optimism just by keeping a weekly gratitude journal. In another study, they found that optimism increased to 15% by keeping a daily gratitude journal.
Being optimistic just makes life better….aside from seeing the sunny side of life, it has been shown to make you happier, improve your health and even increase your lifespan!
Gratitude makes you less self-centered.
The nature of gratitude helps you get outside of yourself and helps you to focus on others…it may be on someone else’s acts of good, but it still gets you thinking about others and the bigger picture in life.
Gratitude improves your health.
According to Forbes, grateful people actually experience fewer aches and pains. In fact, grateful people report feeling healthier according to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences.
Not only do grateful people feel better themselves, but they are also more likely to take care of their own health. They tend to exercise more and are even more likely to attend regular check-ups, which is likely to contribute to longevity.
Gratitude improves psychological health.
Gratitude has been shown to reduce a multitude of “toxic” emotions which range from envy and resentment. Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., who is a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between a sense of overall well-being and gratitude. His research concluded that practicing gratitude actually increases happiness and can even reduce feelings of depression.
Grateful people even sleep better.
The practice of writing in a gratitude journal has even been shown to improve sleep. According to a study in 2011 published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, they found that just 15 minutes spent writing down what you are grateful for may help you sleep better and for a longer duration.
There you have it…more than enough reasons to start practicing gratitude today.
I would love to hear what you are grateful for in the comments below. After all…it will increase your happiness, optimism, mental and physical health and even help you sleep better tonight!