Gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful ways to change your life. I’ve been practicing gratitude for over three years and it’s changed my life. #truth
Now if you’re like “Hold up! Happy for you, girl, but I don’t know about gratitude?!” that’s fine. As I show (extensively, I might say) in my ebook Growing Gratitude, there’s a ton of research demonstrating the benefits of practicing gratitude. Don’t trust me, trust science.
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Gratitude gives you better self-esteem
Do you find yourself having occasional bouts of Beyonce envy? And then eating a tub of ice cream, cause you'll never be as bootylicious as her or play a rockin' Super Bowl halftime show? [I know, I've been there.] Research has indicated that gratitude decreases social comparisons. Reduced self-esteem is for the most part caused by resentment toward someone else’s circumstances or achievements. Instead, grateful people up the self-esteem ante by appreciating other people’s achievements.
Gratitude gives you the opportunity for more and better relationships
You know the book ‘How to win friends and influence people’? Well, according to research, showing appreciation helps you win friends and... influence people’s behavior. Thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship. Create opportunities for yourself by thanking the barista for making your OMG.I.Need.This morning coffee or sending a thank-you card to that co-worker who helped you figure out a difficult project. How’s that for creating new friendships!
Gratitude improves psychological health
Practicing gratitude helps you say bye bye to toxic emotions: from frustration and regret to envy and resentment. Not only that, but gratitude also increases your well-being. Robert Emmons is a leading gratitude researcher and a number of his studies show that gratitude increases happiness and well-being and reduces depression. If you, like me, always thought that gratitude is the result of happiness, then that’s scientifically proven wrong. Gratitude CAUSES happiness.
Gratitude improves physical health
Let me give you a list of physical benefits, cause yes... there’s a list:
Gratitude makes you mentally stronger
Recognizing all you have to be thankful for - even during the worst, most painful times of your life - fosters resilience. Think of how many great pairs of shoes you have in your closet next time the heel of your favorite pair breaks off.
Gratitude makes you more empathetic
More so than others, grateful people behave in what scientist call “a prosocial manner”. People who are more grateful are less likely to retaliate against others, even when given negative feedback, and they experience more empathy toward other people.
Are you convinced? Practicing gratitude doesn’t have to be difficult. Simply take a few moments to focus on all that you have instead of complaining about all the things you don’t have. Do that and gratitude will change your life. (BTW, you can find all of my most successful strategies, experiences, and practices when it comes to gratitude into a step-by-step guide called Growing Gratitude. Do you want to take your daily stress level down a notch? Then Growing Gratitude was made for you! Learn more about it here.)
I've created an infographic detailing all the ways practing gratitude benefits you. Download it, print it and glue it on page one of your gratitude journal. Just look at it each time you feel a bit meh about writing in your gratitude journal and could use a little motivation.
Sources: Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, Emotion, Personality and Individual Differences, American Psychological Association, Behavior Research and Therapy, Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, Robert A. Emmons: Thanks!