With Thanksgiving fast approaching, the concept of gratitude, appreciation, and thankfulness of course comes up.
But the question is, does being thankful really change your outlook on life?
So far, the data would say YES.
Gratitude research currently shows that you should make gratitude your attitude.
– Research participants who wrote about gratitude daily for 3 weeks were happier than those who didn’t or who focused on things that irritated them. They also exercised more and went to the doctor less.
– In another study, those who delivered a letter to someone they needed to thank (but hadn’t), had a huge increase in happiness, with benefits lasting up to a month.
– One study showed that couples who took the time daily to express gratitude for one another felt more positive about their partner and had an easier time communicating relationship concerns.
– Further research shows that bosses’ who express gratitude towards their employees have employees who work harder.
– Lastly, research shows that those who express gratitude daily have lower blood pressure, stronger immune systems, more optimism and compassion, and feel less lonely and isolated.
So, that leaves the question … how do you cultivate gratitude?
Here are some practical ways to start practicing gratitude daily.
– Keep a gratitude journal and bullet point at least one unique thing that you’re truly thankful for that day. Do it at the same time each day, so it becomes routine.
– Use an app, like Gratitude Journal to remind you to jot something down daily.
– Write a letter or email and thank someone that you need to.
– Start communicating to those around you your appreciation.
– Tell your partner something you appreciate about them each day.
– Meditate and count your blessings.
– At the start of every dinner, make it a practice to begin your meal with the best part of your day.
Cheers to making gratitude your attitude!
Harvard Health Publications. “In Praise of Gratitude.” Harvard Health Mental Letter. 2011. http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/in-praise-of-gratitude
Greater Good. “Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude.” Berkeley University of California. 2015. http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/expandinggratitude