This time of year, there’s a lot of focus on being thankful. And that’s a good thing! But what about the rest of the year? Science shows that gratitude and happiness are linked. The more grateful you are, the happier you are.
- Better relationships. Saying “thank you” is more than just good manners. When you thank someone you just met, they’re more likely to want to pursue a longer relationship with you. Whether it’s a quick thank you email to a co-worker or a thank you with a nod to someone who holds the door for you, those two words really are magic when it comes to relationships.
- Better health. People who feel grateful experience fewer physical aches and pains. This may be in part because grateful people are also more likely to eat well and exercise. Thus, they also tend to live longer. In addition, holding a feeling of gratitude also reduces the harm of emotions like envy, resentment, frustration, regret, and depression.
- Better empathy. Grateful people are more adept at putting themselves in someone else’s shoes. They’re more likely to feel empathy for others and less likely to seek revenge.
- Better sleep. Studies show that spending as little as 15 minutes writing down what you’re grateful for before going to sleep leads to longer, more restful sleep.
- Better self-esteem. People who live with gratitude are less likely to compare themselves with others. By simply being grateful for what they have and who they are, self-esteem increases, and with it performance.
- Better mental resilience. Studies show that people recovering from trauma are less likely to experience PTSD and other related problems when they focus on what they’re grateful for. Recovery time is also quicker with gratitude.
How to Develop Gratitude
- Keep a journal. This is great for helping with sleep as noted in number 4 above. You only need to write down 3 to 5 things.
- Switch your thoughts. When you notice yourself becoming upset, frustrated, or angry, stop and replace that thought with something you’re grateful for instead.
- Be direct. Call, write, share on social media – it doesn’t matter how you do it. When you tell others what you’re grateful for you shift everyone’s focus towards gratitude.
Switch it up. As humans, we tend to get bored easily. Change how you express your gratitude so you don’t give up doing it all together.
What other ways do you express gratitude?