There are several life-changing benefits of gratitude, yet gratitude and thankfulness is an underutilized tool.
To cultivate gratitude and appreciation, you don’t need to spend money or put in a lot of effort. You simply need to feel gratitude for what you have.
Gratitude is a skill that can be learned and practiced by everyone. It is as simple as spending a few moments appreciating what you have, instead of complaining about the things you don’t have. Finding ways to be thankful is one of the easiest ways to be more content in your life.
The benefits of being grateful are scientifically proven. Here are the most common:
Life-changing benefits of being thankful
1. Being thankful improves your physical health
According to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences, grateful people have fewer pains and aches, and they feel healthier.
2. Being grateful improves your psychological health
Gratitude alleviates a wide range of negative feelings, such as jealousy, resentment, and regret.
3. Gratitude increases happiness and reduces depression
This, according to multiple studies by Robert a Emmons, Ph.D, a leading gratitude researcher.
4. Thankfulness reduces aggression and enhances empathy
In 2012, a gratitude study was done at the University of Kentucky. Even when given unfavorable criticism, study participants who scored higher on thankfulness scales were less likely to react against others. They became more empathic toward others and less inclined to seek revenge.
5. People who are grateful sleep better
Gratitude can be expressed in many ways – keeping a gratitude journal is just one way. Gratitude journaling can help you sleep better, according to a study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being in 2011. To get a better night’s sleep, take 15 minutes before bed to write down a few things for which you are grateful that day.
6. Being grateful improves your self esteem
Gratitude boosts self-esteem in athletes, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology in 2014. Gratitude, according to other research, lessens the tendency to make social comparisons. Instead of feeling angry toward those who have more money or better employment, grateful people can appreciate the accomplishments of others.
When you live a life of gratitude, you feel like your life is in good hands—you see a network of previous and present relationships that have helped you get to where you are now.
Recognizing other people’s contributions to your life and realizing that others value you can change the way you see yourself.
7. Being thankful can help you make more friends
A 2014 Emotion study found that demonstrating gratitude can help you make new friends and develop relationships. The study found that thanking a new friend increases their eagerness to keep in touch. Whether you thank a stranger for holding the door or a coworker who helped you with a project, acknowledging others’ contributions can open doors to new friendships and relationships.
8. Being grateful increases your mental strength
Gratitude has long been proven to ease stress and help people heal from tragedy. A 2006 study in Behavior Research and Therapy showed that grateful Vietnam War Veterans had decreased incidences of PTSD. A 2003 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology study indicated that thankfulness helped people recover from the September 11 attacks.
Practicing an attitude of gratitude and recognizing your blessings, even during difficult times, builds resilience.
9. People who are thankful are more resistant to stress
Many studies have shown that people who have a thankful mindset are more resistant to stress. They also heal faster from trauma, adversity, and suffering.
Gratitude provides people with a lens through which they can understand unfavorable life situations. It protects them from long-term stress and worries.
10. Gratitude can reduce hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c)
Women with diabetes whose hemoglobin A1c levels are elevated may benefit from practicing gratitude to lower their levels. According to a study done by Neal Krause, Ph.D., it was discovered that women who felt grateful to God had lower HbA1c readings (blood glucose levels).
11. Gratitude may improve heart failure
People with asymptomatic Stage B heart failure may benefit from practicing gratitude.
According to Paul Mill, Laura Redwine, and other researchers’ findings, those who have had structural heart damage but have no apparent symptoms have lower levels of weariness and sadness, better sleep, and less systemic inflammation than those who have not. In addition, patients who kept a daily thankfulness notebook for eight weeks had lower levels of inflammation markers at the end of the study.
12. Being grateful reduces blood pressure
Gratitude lowers a person’s heart rate and blood pressure. People who list their blessings at least once a week, according to Positive Psychology, have lower blood pressure, which benefits their general health.
13. Gratitude magnifies positive emotions
Gratitude allows us to celebrate and appreciate the moments. We benefit more from something when we recognize its value. We are also less prone to take things for granted when we appreciate the value of something.