With Thanksgiving around the corner, it’s a perfect time of the year to do a little self-reflection and contemplate what you’re grateful for. Practicing gratitude can sound hokey, but did you know it has surprising benefits for your health and overall wellbeing?
I came to recognize that, without gratitude, my goals were not attainable. But by integrating gratitude into my daily routine, I began realizing I already had so many amazing things in my life. This helped me keep my head above water whenever I felt discouraged by long-terms goals that just felt so far off.
But there are endless benefits to practicing gratitude. Here are 5 surprising benefits you’ll realize after implementing a daily gratitude practice:
1. Gratitude improves physical health. A 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences showed those who practiced gratitude felt fewer aches and pains physically, and even experienced better athletic performance. In the same regard, those who practice gratitude are also the same people who tend to exercise and pay more attention to their health.
2. Gratitude improves relationships with others. According to a study in the Journal of Theoretical Social Psychology, being grateful towards your significant other can improve your relationship, including more romance, greater feelings of connectedness, and an appreciation of each other.
3. Gratitude relieves anger and aggression. According to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky, those who felt more gratitude were less likely to act out towards others, or retaliate at someone. Those who felt more gratitude exhibited less aggression in general, and felt more empathy towards others. It’s easier to let things go when you’re grateful for what you already have!
4. Gratitude helps with depression and anxiety. Studies show those who suffer from depression can reduce their symptoms by writing in a gratitude journal, or even just by thinking about three things they’re grateful for each day. By practicing gratitude in the moment, you can lift your mood and appreciate all of that’s amazing in your life!
5. Gratitude increases resiliency. A 2006 study in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War veterans, when practicing gratitude, had lower rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A 2003 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that being grateful contributed to mental resiliency after 9/11 for those who suffered directly from trauma. Just appreciating and recognizing all that you have to be thankful for can enhance mental resilience—how amazing is that?
Start your gratitude journey by getting a journal. Each night, before you go to bed, write down three to five, or even 10, things you’re grateful for that day. It doesn’t have to be super big things that you’re grateful for… in fact, sometimes the smaller the better like hearing your favorite song on the radio or someone holding the door open for you. You’ll be surprised how greatly the little things you would normally discount will enhance your mood, boost your energy, and make you an overall happier person!
Grab a Daily Intentions Planner
Practicing gratitude has played such a major role in achieving my own goals, and increasing the joy I experienced in life, that I made it a core element in my Daily Intentions Planner. This planner has become a favorite of my clients and friends—one day at a time, it helps you create a road map towards reaching your goals and recognizing all the good stuff going on in your life. Check it out, and pick up a copy for yourself…or for friends and loved ones. It makes a great holiday gift!