How science is proving the benefits of an attitude of gratitude
Do you appreciate your life? How often do you take a moment to say thanks for all that you have? It may help you to know that, doing this more often, has immense benefits beyond simply feeling good. As Tony Robbins says, “When you move from expectation to appreciation, everything changes in an instant”.
In this article, we have collated a series of facts, quotes and positive self-affirmations around the G-word to help motivate you to cultivate a regular, active practice of cultivating this powerful positive emotion. Try actively working it into your day and see what benefits you can enjoy.
WHAT THE STUDIES SAY …
– Gratitude opens the door to more relationships. Studies show that saying thank you to a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship (1).
– Gratitude arises when an individual (beneficiary) perceives that another person (benefactor) or source (God, luck, fate) has intentionally acted to improve the beneficiary’s well-being (2). Gratitude also requires the capacity to empathise with others (3) and empathy is necessary in order to build connections.
– Grateful people report fewer aches and pains, exercise more often and are more likely to take care of their health (4).
– Gratitude improves psychological health, reducing toxic emotions from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. You cannot feel envious and grateful at the same time (5). Research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.
– Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression, with grateful people showing to be less likely to retaliate or seek revenge when given negative feedback (6).
– Grateful people sleep better. Writing in a gratitude journal enhances restfulness after a busy day (7). It also improves self-esteem and reduces social comparisons (8). Furthermore, experiencing appreciation increases mental strength, reduces stress and helps to overcome trauma. Research reveals Vietnam War veterans with higher levels of gratitude experience lower rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (9).
– Classic and contemporary analyzes of Gratitude suggest benefits that last long beyond simply feeling good in the moment. Benefits range from personal and social development, to individual health and wellbeing, and community strength and harmony (10).
– Social scientists (11) have suggested gratitude has three moral functions. It serves as a moral barometer, a moral motivator and a moral reinforcer.
Positive emotions, such as gratitude, appear to broaden people’s momentary thought- action repertoires and build their enduring personal resources (12). That is to say, harnessing these good thoughts helps us to be more resilient, and increases our chances of finding even more ways to feel good.
WHAT THE GURUS SAY …
“This a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.” – Maya Angelou
“Learn to be thankful for what you already have, while you pursue all that you want.” – Jim Rohn
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein
“Gratitude will shift you to a higher frequency, and you will attract much better things.” – Rhonda Byrne
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” – Eckhart Tolle
“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” – Willie Nelson
“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” – Zig Ziglar
WHAT YOU CAN SAY …
I am so grateful to be alive.
I am grateful for all the blessings I have.
I am attracting joyful experiences into my life.
I live my life with awareness and gratitude.
I choose to find the positive in difficult situations.
Life gives me abundant blessings to be grateful for.
I am so blessed for everything I have.
Gratitude grounds me to the present moment.
I am thankful for the positive relationships in my life.
Each day blesses me with more things to be grateful for.
Thank you for health, vitality, and abundance.
Gratitude in challenging times helps me grow.
I am grateful for a life that makes me happy.
I practice gratitude and cultivate joy.
I am ready for a new day filled with opportunities.
I embrace today with open arms.
I am aware of my body’s strength and capabilities.
I am full of vitality and I love my life.
I have so much to be thankful for.
I am thankful for new beginnings.
Thank you for another day.
(1) Williams, 2014 (2) Emmons & Shelton, 2002 (3) Lazarus and Lazarus, 1994 (4) Fagley, 2012 (5) Emmons, 2007 (6) DeWall et al, 2012 (7) Rash et al, 2011 (8) Hung Chen, 2014 (9) Kashdan et al, 2011 (10) Fredrickson, 2004 (11) McCullogh et al, 2001 (12) Fredrickson, 1998, 2001