The Benefits of Gratitude: 7 Key Reasons to Change Your Attitude
The Benefits of Gratitude: Developing an attitude of gratitude is essential to living a fulfilling life. It’s human nature to become preoccupied with “getting more.” This can take the form of getting more:
- “Likes” on social media.
- Clothes for the ever-increasing wardrobe.
- Money and other status symbols.
- Square footage in your next house.
You get the idea. A few years ago, Melissa and I were cleaning out her grandmother’s apartment after she passed away. I was extremely preoccupied with wanting more money, more success, etc.
While stuck inside my head, Melissa and her mother made the
decision to bring leftover food items to the local pantry for those in need. We
boxed up everything and made our way to the pantry. It was at that moment when
I was “God Smacked.” As we walked through the front door and entered the lobby,
we saw a family waiting patiently for the donation of food.
I was sucker punched in a good way. I needed to be sucker
punched. This family wasn’t asking for more “things.” They were hungry and just
wanted food – a basic necessity for survival. I felt ashamed. It made me realize that I had
(and have) all that I could possibly need in life, and then some.
All of us can easily be drawn into the rut of wanting
more. We just need a mental adjustment
to get us back to having an attitude of gratitude. So, what can we do to return
to this healthier and more peaceful state of mind?
- Stop and be still.
- Remember the tough times in your life and
compare them to where you are now in your journey. Note: There will always be
challenging times that pop up. Just be sure to remind yourself of your inner
strength which can always get you through it.
- Comprise a list of all that you have in your
life (food, shelter, companionship/love, faith, health, etc.).
- Take time to really appreciate this list. Ask
yourself: “Do I really need more?”
- Focus on the help you’ve received from others.
Be mindful of their gifts to you.
- Focus on the behaviors of those who express
gratitude. Learn from them.
- Declutter and simplify your life. Donate what
you no longer need. This new environment will free up physical and mental
space, making more “room” for gratitude.
- Volunteer your time with any organization that
could use your help such as hospitals, nursing homes and schools. It will
provide you with a more positive perspective on life.
- Say “Thank You” to the universe or whichever
higher power or spirit you believe in, or simply say “Thank You.” Just make sure you say these two words.
- Now say: “I have all that I need, and I am
Be sure to get into the habit of following these guidelines.
They will become second nature to you. Imagine your new life when you embrace
these suggestions. Of course, feel free to add your own steps to the list.
I’m grateful for Melissa who gives me the opportunity to
write for her website. I am also grateful for you, the reader. I hope you find
this helpful. ~Ted
The Benefits of Gratitude: 7 Scientifically Proven Benefits ~parts adapted via PsychologyToday.com
1. Benefits of Gratitude: Gratitude opens the door to more relationships. Not only does saying “thank you” constitute good manners, but showing appreciation can help you win new friends, according to a 2014 study published in Emotion. The study found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship. So whether you thank a stranger for holding the door or send a thank-you note to that colleague who helped you with a project, acknowledging other people’s contributions can lead to new opportunities.
2. Benefits of Gratitude: Gratitude improves physical health. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and report feeling healthier than other people, according to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences. Not surprisingly, grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health. They exercise more often and are more likely to attend regular check-ups, which is likely to contribute to further longevity.
3. Benefits of Gratitude: Gratitude improves psychological health. Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Robert Emmons, a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.
4. Benefits of Gratitude: Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression. Grateful people are more likely to behave in a prosocial manner, even when others behave less kindly, according to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky. Study participants who ranked higher on gratitude scales were less likely to retaliate against others, even when given negative feedback. They experienced more sensitivity and empathy toward other people and a decreased desire to seek revenge.
5. Benefits of Gratitude: Grateful people sleep better. Writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep, according to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. Spend just 15 minutes jotting down a few grateful sentiments before bed, and you may sleep better and longer.
6. Benefits of Gratitude: Gratitude improves self-esteem. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that gratitude increased athletes’ self-esteem, an essential component to optimal performance. Other studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons. Rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs—a major factor in reduced self-esteem—grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments.
7. Benefits of Gratitude: Gratitude increases mental strength. For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma. A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of post-traumatic stress disorder. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on September 11. Recognizing all that you have to be thankful for —even during the worst times—fosters resilience.
We all have the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. Rather than complain about the things you think you deserve, take a few moments to focus on all that you have. Developing an “attitude of gratitude” is one of the simplest ways to improve your satisfaction with life.
The Benefits of Gratitude and More Great Stuff Here