Can Gratitude Boost Your Well-Being?

Can Gratitude Boost Your Well-Being?

What better time to kick-start a gratitude routine than Thanksgiving? Showing gratitude helps us stay true to the real meaning of the holiday season. But did you know that the practice of gratitude can have a major impact on health, relationships, emotions, personality and career?

Gratitude is not only a positive, constructive emotion -- it’s a powerful one. Practicing gratitude is one of the simplest things you can do to achieve your goals in the new year, transform your life and feel happy all year long. Here, we’ve presented five of the many benefits of gratitude:

  1. Gratitude lifts you up

In eight different studies, gratitude was shown to reduce feelings of depression8 and lessen anxiety9. When you make gratitude a daily habit, gratitude begets more gratitude, putting you on a constant feel-good loop. The payoff is feel-good emotions. With all of that gratitude circulating, you can’t help but feel a positivity ‘high.’

  1. Expressing gratitude makes you happier than accumulating material things

It’s not having what you want; it’s wanting what you’ve got. Focusing your attention on what you have has a greater impact on overall happiness and mood than pursuing more money or more material things. In one study, the act of using a gratitude journal each day for a month has been shown to have a 10 percent increase on subjective happiness.10

  1. Expressing gratitude makes you emotionally resilient

By practicing gratitude, you’ll get better at seeing the bright side of unfortunate outcomes. Gratitude is correlated with optimism. Having an optimistic disposition improves emotional strength and your ability to deal with trauma. Additionally, it reduces toxic emotions like envy, anger, hatred and regret.

  1. Practicing gratitude has workplace benefits

A simple act of gratitude -- like a compliment or thank you -- from a manager engenders a sense of self-worth among employees. In a national survey, the majority of respondents found that saying "thank you" to colleagues "made employees happier and more fulfilled,"11 When people feel happy and fulfilled, they tend to perform at their peak level.

  1. Practicing gratitude can help improve your sleep

About one in three adults have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, so anyone can use this last tip to enjoy a better rest. Right before bedtime, try writing down the things you are grateful for in a journal and then repeating them out loud to yourself (see next section for the how-to steps). Doing so can help you fall asleep faster, while improving sleep quality and sleep duration.

How Does It Work? Here’s Your 5-Step Gratitude Guide

  1. Sit in a quiet place where you can focus on your thoughts. Focus on what brings you joy and then let the gratitude flow organically.
  2. Hold those joyful images in your mind for a few moments and relish how it feels.
  3. If any negative thoughts surface, reframe them. What unfortunate events were actually a

blessing in disguise? Maybe getting laid off from work led you to a more fulfilling career. Think about some of the struggles in your life and say thank you for the surprising benefits they’ve given you.

  1. Write it down. With a pen and notebook in hand, you’ll quickly be able to jot down several simple pleasures. Sipping your morning coffee on the back porch, your dog’s adoring gaze, successfully trying out a new recipe -- whatever makes you feel good.
  2. Meditate on it. Sit in silence for a few minutes, reading out loud the entries you just wrote down. Notice how your body responds. Does it feel lighter? Calm? At ease? Little do most people know, gratitude is a powerful relaxant!

If journaling isn’t your style, take the opportunity to share the love over the phone. Call or text someone you know and give them a compliment. The message doesn’t have to be perfect. Even a simple ‘thanks’ is enough to fill your gratitude cup -- try it!

Expressing your gratitude isn't just the nice thing to do; it’s the healthy thing to do. Don’t get so wrapped up in the big holiday hustle that you forget to give thanks for the little things. Gratitude is the key to enjoying life’s abundant gifts and bouncing back from life’s upsets, quickly and gracefully.


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