7 surprising benefits of gratitude

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Thanksgiving isn’t the only time you should practice gratitude. Gratitude should be practised on a daily basis. Various studies have found that there are several benefits in making gratitude a year-round habit. To enjoy the many mental and physical benefits of gratitude all it takes is a little bit of introspection and conscious practice. 

Gratitude practice does not take any extra effort or time or money. It can be practiced anywhere and anytime. You can practice gratitude while you are doing daily activities like commuting, eating, walking, cooking etc. You can practice gratitude even when you are tired or feeling down. In fact, you should practice it when you are feeling down as it helps you to come out of this state quickly and changes your mood. Gratitude is easy and simple, and the best part is it brings in several benefits.

Here are seven surprising benefits you can gain from developing an attitude of gratitude.

Benefit #1 – More Patience

Researchers at Northeastern University have found that people who felt grateful for the little everyday things in their lives were more patient and better able to make sensible decisions, compared to those who didn’t feel thankful on a daily basis. When we practice gratitude, intensity and frequency of our negative emotions come down. This helps us in being relaxed and patient. 

Our decision-making capability is dependent on our emotional state. Gratitude is a positive emotion and gives us inner peace. Hence people who practice gratitude on a daily basis become better at decision making.

Benefit #2 – Improved Relationships

Many times, in life, we take our relationships for granted and rarely take the time to express our gratitude to our family members. But expressing gratitude towards our family members is important for healthy relationships. Relationships thrive on love and gratitude.

Feeling grateful towards your partner, and vice versa can improve numerous aspects of your relationship, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Theoretical Social Psychology. This includes stronger feelings of connectedness and overall satisfaction as a couple. Being grateful for each other can significantly help your love life.

Gratitude practice makes you better in your relationships and brings you joy.

Benefit #3 – Improved Sleep

Having good quality of sleep is import for a healthy body. During sleep, our body gets repaired and rejuvenated. Good quality sleep plays an important role in our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health.

Feeling grateful can help you sleep better and for longer. This is most likely because you have more positive thoughts before you go to sleep, which can help to soothe the nervous system. If you are going to make a daily gratitude list, or keep a gratitude journal, studies have shown that it is best to do this right before bed.

Before you sleep, spend couple of minutes in writing down your blessings in your gratitude journal. This simple practice, when done regularly, helps you in sleeping better.

Benefit #4 – Eases Depression

Gratitude is powerful and eases depression. When you practice gratitude, you feel good about your life and depression cannot exist.  Recent studies have shown that by practicing the “three good things” exercise daily, you can see considerable improvements in depression and overall happiness, sometimes in as little as a few weeks. Depression and gratitude cannot co-exist. “Three good things” exercise is a simple practice which prompts you to think of three good things or moments that happened during the day. You can practice this at the end of your day before you go to bed. Below are the steps to practice this exercise.

Depression

1. Be seated comfortably.

2. Relax your body and mind.

3. Go through your entire day and search for three good things or moments in your day.

4. Express your gratitude to the divine for blessing you with these moments.

Benefit #5 – Gives You Happiness that Lasts

Numerous things can give you a boost of happiness, from a compliment to a sugary treat. Unfortunately, these kinds of instant gratification can quickly disappear and leave you craving more. Gratitude, on the other hand, is something that can lead to a much more sustainable form of happiness because it isn’t based in that immediate gratification, but rather a state of mind. If you take the time to regularly express gratitude and thankfulness for the things in your life, you are more than likely to see long-lasting happiness. And the best part is gratitude is easy, healthy and free. So, you can indulge in gratitude without worrying about weight gain or loss of health.

Benefit #6 – Improves physical health

Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and they report feeling healthier than other people, according to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences. It is also found that grateful people are more likely to take care of their health.  They exercise more often and are more regular in their check-ups with their doctors, which is likely to contribute to further longevity.

Also, gratitude is a positive emotion and releases feel good hormones in the body. These hormones improve health, make us feel happy and relax our mind.

Benefit #7 – Increases mental strength

For years, research has shown that gratitude not only relieves stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma. It is difficult and challenging to overcome trauma and that can be of great help. 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. Gratitude gives the strength to keep calm and walk through the difficult situations of life with optimism.

These are the seven benefits of gratitude. It doesn’t take a lot of fancy equipment to practice but can significantly change your life. Life is all about your attitude and mindset. Attitude of Gratitude is a great attitude that can show you the way even in difficult situations. Taking just a few minutes a day to show your thanks can have substantial benefits on both your mental and physical health.

Start your gratitude practice right today with little steps and very soon, you will find so many wonderful things in your life.

Wish you health and peace! 

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