8 surprising reasons why gratefulness is great for your health
Updated: May 1, 2019
It turns out that giving thanks is not only making us better humans - it can be one of the best things we can do for our health. Get ready to sink your teeth into the benefits of gratefulness and tap into an easy way to supercharge your health and well-being.
Ah! That gratitude feeling
Think for a moment: what does it mean to feel gratitude towards someone or something in your life? That's what gratitude is, right?
Gratitude is a choice to appreciate what life brings to us and the people within it.
According to Dr. Robert Emmons, a leading psychologist and researcher in the field of gratitude, when we give thanks we say yes to life and recognise that they are forces outside of ourselves.
Gratitude heals, energises, and transforms lives. - Dr Emmons.
8 reasons why gratefulness is a health booster
1. Feeling happier
Writing down one thing we feel grateful for every day can keep symptoms of depression at bay! Gratitude is strongly associated with happiness: it helps us feel more positive emotions and see the good in our experiences. Across various studies, Prof. Emmons found that giving thanks can increase our emotional well-being by as much as 15 to 25%.
2. Getting an energy boost
Feeling tired? Keeping a gratitude journal could be just what you need to replace that daily cup of coffee! Dr. Emmons found that gratitude can lead us to exercise more (up 33%) and take better care of our health. It's simple: the better your body functions, the more energy you'll feel.
3. Feeling healthier
A gratitude practice has also been linked with lower blood pressure, improved kidney function, stronger immunity, and a stronger heart (notably by reducing inflammation). As we become more grateful we also tend to avoid risky health behaviours like smoking or binge driving.
4. Sleeping better
Yes please! Adopting a regular gratitude practice can give us that extra half hour of sleep but we are also likely to feel more rested when we wake up. Thanks a million, right!
5. Becoming more resilient
Life is a constant invitation for gratitude - Dr Emmons.
Gratitude helps us deal with adversity by training our brains to see the good out of every situation - even the most challenging ones. Getting out of negativity means that it becomes easier to bounce back from loss and trauma (or bounce forward as I like to say!)
6. Enjoying stronger relationships
Who doesn't like to feel appreciated? Our brains are wired to "take people for granted" sort of speak. As we start feeling comfortable in our relationships, it's easy to focus on the other's person flaws. Expressing gratitude can not only make our loved ones feel valued, it can rewire our brains to see the good in others. Research shows that couples who cultivate gratefulness are also more likely to express concerns as they arise.
7. Being better humans
Reciprocity is human nature. We tend to smile when someone smiles. Same goes with gratitude. When we express our gratitude towards someone, it makes that person feels good, which is likely to start a chain of goodness - not only for us but for others too.
8. Feeling more peaceful
Feeling anxious? Check out the tips in the next section to see how you can reduce stress-hormones naturally. Practising gratitude can also help relieve your anxiety if you suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Get your gratitude groove on
1. Write a thank you note
Yay - mail that's not a bill! Sending a thank you note (or better yet delivering it in person) is a great way to nurture your relationships while giving you a little boost of joy. Why not try this once a month and, while you're at it, write a note to yourself once in a while.
2. Thank someone in your mind
No time to write? Why not take a minute to simply thank someone in your mind or simply acknowledge something good that life has brought you.
3. Keep a gratitude journal.
Make it a habit to either keep a journal for what you are grateful for in your life or just schedule a weekly gratefulness chat with the people in your lives.
Oh before I forget, thank you for being here. You're awesome.