It’s Thanksgiving Week! Gobble Gobble. But we use the concept of gobble more about food than the sound of the fowl. However we use it – we should take this week and every week to tell God how thankful we are. Even when life isn’t so … wonderful. We can always find things for which to be thankful. And if you needed a reason to be thankful, then Courtney Ackerman wrote an article that expressed 28 benefits to gratitude.
It’s almost as if being thankful is a bit selfish. No, maybe not. But it is good for you. SO read the whole article here, are just enjoy the summery below …
Benefits of Gratitude: 28+ Surprising Research Findings
Practicing gratitude is known to impact our emotions and emotional health. Evidence has shown that a regular “attitude of gratitude” can…
1. Make us happier
those who pay attention to what is good in their life instead of what is bad are more likely to feel positively about their life.
2. Increase psychological wellbeing
Researcher Chih-Che Lin (2017) found that even when controlling for personality, a high level of gratitude has a strong positive impact on psychological wellbeing, self-esteem, and depression. – Makes you a better feeling you!
3. Enhance our positive emotions
Research has shown that gratitude reduces envy, facilitates positive emotions, and makes us more resilient. After all, if we are grateful for what we have, what room is there for envy to sneak in?
4. Increase our self-esteem
Gratitude can help you feel better about your circumstances, which can lead to feeling better about yourself.
5. Keep suicidal thoughts and attempts at bay
A study on the effects of gratitude on depression, coping, and suicide showed that gratitude is a protective factor when it comes to suicidal ideation in stressed and depressed individuals (Krysinska, Lester, Lyke, & Corveleyn, 2015). Enhancing our own practice of gratitude can help protect us when we are weakest.
Gratitude and Social Benefits
So we know that gratitude makes us more emotionally balanced, happier, and more positive. It makes sense, then, that all of these positive effects result in social benefits as well. After all, happy and healthy people are fun to be around!
6. Make people like us
Those who are more grateful have access to a wider social network, more friends, and better relationships on average (Amin, 2014). People like happier more positive peeps!
7. Improve our romantic relationships
Showing our gratitude to loved ones is a great way to make them feel good, make us feel good, and make the relationship better in general! Yowza!!!
8. Improve our friendships
Those who communicate their gratitude to their friends are more likely to work through problems and concerns with their friends.
9. Increases social support
Those who are more grateful have access to more social support … and it lessens the need for social support in the first place by making you feel better about yourself!
10. Strengthen family relationships in times of stress
Gratitude has been found to protect children of ill parents from anxiety and depression, acting as a buffer against the internalization of symptoms (Stoeckel, Weissbrod, & Ahrens, 2015). Teenage and young adult children who are able to find the positives in their lives can more easily deal with difficult situations like serious illness in the family.
11. Make us more optimistic
Showing our gratitude not only helps others feel more positively, it also makes us think more positively … the more we think about what we are grateful for, the more we find to be grateful for!
12. Increase our spiritualism
If you are feeling a little too “worldly” or feeling lost spiritually, practicing gratitude can help you get out of your spiritual funk.
13. Make us more giving
Another benefit to both ourselves and others, gratitude can decrease our self-centeredness … gratitude makes us more likely to share with others, even at the expense of ourselves.
14. Indicate reduced materialism
Unsurprisingly, those who are the most grateful also tend to be less materialistic … appreciating what we already have.
15. Enhance optimism
Gratitude can impact our Career …
16. Make us more effective managers
Gratitude research has shown that practicing gratitude enhances your managerial skills, enhancing your praise-giving and motivating abilities as a mentor and guide to the employees you manage (Stone & Stone, 1983).
17. Reduce impatience and improve decision-making
Those that are more grateful than others are also less likely to be impatient during economic decision-making, leading to better decisions and less pressure from the desire for short-term gratification (DeSteno, Li, Dickens, & Lerner, 2014). As anyone who has ever worked a stressful job already knows, decisions made to satisfy short-term urges rarely provide positive work results or a boost to your career!
18. Help us find meaning in our work
Those who find meaning and purpose in their work are often more effective and more fulfilled throughout their career. Gratitude is one factor that can help people find meaning in their job, along with applying their strengths, positive emotions and flow, hope, and finding a “calling” (Dik, Duffy, Allan, O’Donnell, Shim, & Steger, 2015).
19. Contribute to reduced turnover
Research has found that gratitude and respect in the workplace can help employees feel embedded in their organization, or welcomed and valued (Ng, 2016).
20. Improve work-related mental health and reduce stress
Employing gratitude at work can have a significant impact on staff mental health, stress, and turnover. In a rigorous examination of the effects of gratitude on stress and depressive symptoms in hospital staff, researchers learned that the participants randomly assigned to the gratitude group reported fewer depressive symptoms and stress (Cheng, Tsui, & Lam, 2015). Finding things to be grateful for at work, even in stressful jobs, can help protect staff from the negative side effects of their job.
Gratitude obviously impacts Physical Health …
21. Reduce depressive symptoms
A study on gratitude visits showed that participants experienced a 35% reduction in depressive symptoms for several weeks, while those practising gratitude journaling reported a similar reduction in depressive symptoms for as long as the journaling continued (Seligman et al., 2005). This is an amazing finding and suggests that gratitude journaling can be an effective supplement to treatment for depression. Get those journals out!
22. Reduce your blood pressure
Patients with hypertension who “count their blessings” at least once a week experienced a significant decrease in blood pressure, resulting in better overall health (Shipon, 1977). Want a healthy heart? Count your blessings!
((Todd – My new Apple Watch says I have a fast heart beat – not extreme but maybe I need more gratitude in my life!))
23. Improve your sleep
A two-week gratitude intervention increased sleep quality and reduced blood pressure in participants, leading to enhanced wellbeing.
24. Increase your frequency of exercise
It’s true: being grateful can help you get fit! It may not be a very effective “fast weight loss” plan, but it has been shown that study participants who practiced gratitude regularly for 11 weeks were more likely to exercise than those in the control group (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).
25. Improve your overall physical health
Evidence shows that the more grateful a person is the more likely he or she is to enjoy better physical health, as well as psychological health (Hill, Allemand, & Roberts, 2013). Apparently, grateful people are healthy people!
Gratitude’s Role in Recovery
Beyond merely improving physical health, gratitude has also been applied to aid recovery from several conditions and diagnoses. Whether the issue is substance abuse or a physical ailment, gratitude might be able to help those who are suffering to take control of their lives and get well again.
26. Help people recover from substance misuse
Researchers and addiction programs alike have noticed that gratitude can play a key role in recovery from substance misuse or abuse. It seems to help by enabling the development of strengths and other personal resources that individuals can call on in their journey towards a healthier life (Chen, 2017).
27. Enhance recovery from coronary health events
A study out of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital found that acute coronary syndrome patients experienced greater improvements in health-related quality of life and greater reductions in depression and anxiety when they approached recovery with gratitude and optimism (Millstein, Celano, Beale, Beach, Suarez, Belcher, … & Huffman, 2016).
28. Facilitate the recovery of people with depression
A case study of a woman with depression revealed that the adoption of Buddhist teachings and practices, with a strong emphasis on utilizing gratitude as a recovery tool, helped her to heal (Cheng, 2015). This should be taken with a grain of salt as a case study, but there is also plenty of evidence that techniques and exercises drawn from Buddhist teachings can have profound benefits for those who practice them.
So, the old “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” may actually have to do with gratitude. This week, every week, be grateful for all He has done!