The Health Benefits of Gratitude

The Health Benefits of Gratitude

Thanksgiving and the holiday season are the perfect time to give thanks. But, did you know that practicing gratitude year-round can actually have some powerful health benefits? Believe it or not, including gratitude in your daily life can positively impact your overall health and wellness. From feeling happier to helping you sleep better, giving thanks can be one of the easiest ways to live your best life. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the top ways that practicing gratitude can make your life happier and healthier.

The Science Behind Gratitude

The science behind gratitude might surprise you. With extensive studies on the topic, researchers have explored how gratitude can be beneficial at home, at work, and in general, in your daily life. That’s because gratitude is directly linked to other beneficial emotional and biological factors, like happiness and smiling. Scientists study the correlation between these and have identified that gratitude can lead to other positive factors that impact how you feel emotionally and physically. So, giving thanks is definitely a good thing.  

Top 10 Benefits of Gratitude

Now that we know a bit more about the science behind gratitude, let’s take a look at some of the ways that practicing gratitude can improve how we feel and live everyday.

  1. Giving thanks makes you feel happier

“I am happy because I'm grateful. I choose to be grateful. That gratitude allows me to be happy.” - Will Arnett

Feeling happy can have lots of positive impacts on our life. So, looking for ways to feel happier is a good thing. One of the easiest ways to increase your happiness is to be thankful. In fact, studies have shown that those who show gratitude about the things in their life actually increased their overall happiness. Whether you’re writing down what you’re thankful for each week or simply saying “thanks,” to those around you, you can feel happier and healthier.

  1. Gratitude can help ease depression

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” - Melody Beattie

Whether we’re just having a case of the weekday blues or are dealing with some emotionally difficult times in our lives, depression and anxiety can impact our lives greatly. What might be surprising for many to learn is that gratitude can actually have a positive impact for many people who are dealing with depression and anxiety in their everyday life. Though it’s not a cure all for such conditions, it can do a lot to help ease the symptoms and feelings brought on by depression. So, give thanks -- both big and small -- on your path to health and wellness.

  1. Being grateful makes you more empathetic

“Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you.” - Eileen Caddy

Understanding how those around us are feeling is an important tool in building better relationships and improving the way we socialize with others. While gratitude can’t make you understand everything about those around you, it can actually help make you more empathetic overall. As research shows, that’s because when we’re practicing gratitude, we’re actually making conscious steps to improve our happiness -- something that makes it easier for us to understand the way others are feeling too.

  1. Gratitude helps improve your psychological health

“Always have an attitude of gratitude.” - Sterling K. Brown

From depression to stress and everything in between, our psychological health can be impacted in just about every way. One way to improve and maintain positive psychological health can be gratitude. Feeling thankful or appreciative actually impacts our brain and is an important step in our mental well-being.

  1. Gratitude helps you have better relationships

“Gratitude is a mark of a noble soul and a refined character. We like to be around those who are grateful.” - Joseph B. Wirthlin

Showing the ones you care most about that you’re thankful for them can have a major impact on your relationship with them. Studies show that gratitude can have a positive impact on relationships. Whether you’re telling your loved one how much you appreciate them or offering up a kind gesture or note of thanks, making sure gratitude is an active part of your relationships are a very good thing.

  1. Gratitude helps you sleep better

“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.” - Aesop

Sleep is an essential part of our health and wellness. But, your ability to get good sleep can be deeply impacted by things like stress. Believe it or not, gratitude can actually help reduce some of these factors that impact your sleep patterns and help you sleep longer and more soundly. Research shows that simple acts, like writing in a gratitude journal can ease bedtime worries and help you sleep longer, along with all the other benefits that gratitude brings along with it. So, getting a better zzzz’s is only a moment of giving thanks away.

  1. Embracing gratitude can help improve your physical health

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” - Marcus Tullius Cicero

When it comes to overall physical health, gratitude plays a pretty important role. Practicing gratitude can improve things like reducing your blood pressure, reduce your stress levels, and sleep better -- all of which lead to a happier, healthier you. So, as research shows, giving thanks can be an important factor in good physical health year-round -- not just during the holiday season when we’re more likely to give thanks.

  1. Gratitude helps increase your mental strength

“Gratitude goes a long way.” - Sylvia Day

When you’re stressed, feeling down, or just overworked, mental sharpness can feel like a real struggle. But, with a few simple tools, you can help improve mental clarity. Gratitude is one tool you can use to feel less foggy and sharper in the boardroom or with your family. Studies have shown that even writing down things you’re thankful for can impact your overall health and wellness and that gratitude can actually cause positive physical changes to your brain.

  1. Being grateful can improve your self-esteem

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” - John F. Kennedy

It’s easy to be hard on ourselves. But, by treating ourselves in a kind and grateful way, we can help make small and important changes to our own self-esteem. Research indicates that self-care and self-love are important pieces in our emotional well-being. So, taking the time to show gratitude towards ourselves can be a powerful tool to boosting self-esteem and experiencing a happier, healthier you.

  1. Gratitude can help you at home and in your career

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” - Melody Beattie

The power of positivity and gratitude can be one of the best ways to be successful in your personal and professional life. In fact, studies show that gratitude can have a serious ripple effect on how we act, perform, and feel in our lives. So, it’s fair to say that being grateful can actually help improve just about every aspect of your life.  

Improving Your Health and Wellness Through Gratitude

As you can see, giving thanks in big and small ways can be one of the easiest ways to improve your mood, feel better, and be happier. So, don’t just practice gratitude during the holiday season or on a special occasion. Show your thanks everyday!

Want to show gratitude to someone in your life? Send your friends and family a HeartSpace Card for any occasion to let them know you’re thankful for them.