Gratitude benefits us. Showing appreciation to others does as well. Being grateful with our whole heart – when we decide, feel and act on gratitude – allows us experience the benefits that science shows us we have.
It's that time of year when many people begin thinking about everything they have to be thankful for. Although it's nice to count your blessings on Thanksgiving, being thankful throughout the year could have tremendous benefits on your quality of life.
What benefits do we get from gratitude?
Two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, have done much of the research on gratitude. In one study, they asked all participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics. (health.harvard.edu)
One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation. (health.harvard.edu)
Another leading researcher in this field, Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, tested the impact of various positive psychology interventions on 411 people, each compared with a control assignment of writing about early memories. When their week's assignment was to write and personally deliver a letter of gratitude to someone who had never been properly thanked for his or her kindness, participants immediately exhibited a huge increase in happiness scores. This impact was greater than that from any other intervention, with benefits lasting for a month. (health.harvard.edu)
Hebrew understanding of the Heart
Gratitude may be one of the most overlooked tools that we all have access to every day. It isn't just a choice to be grateful, we are told that whatever we do we should do it with our whole heart (Colossians 3:23).
The Hebrew understanding of the heart was that it was not just the seat of our emotions, but also the seat of our decision AND the seat of our action. So I submit that we need to not only choose to be grateful, we need to feel gratitude and act on the gratitude we feel. When we do that, the benefits of gratitude are enormous.
7 benefits of gratitude
1. Being grateful opens the door to more relationships.
According to a 2014 study published in Emotion showing appreciation can help you win new friends. The study has shown for the first time that thanking a new acquaintance for their help makes them more likely to seek an ongoing social relationship with you. Saying "thank you" provides a valuable signal that you are someone with whom a high-quality relationship could be formed.
2. Being grateful improves physical health .
According to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences grateful people experience fewer aches and pains, and they report feeling healthier than other people. Not surprisingly, grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health. They exercise more often and are more likely to attend regular check-ups with their doctors, which is likely to contribute to further longevity.
3. Being grateful improves psychological health.
Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.
4. Being grateful enhances empathy and reduces aggression.
According to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky gratitude motivates people to express sensitivity and concern for others and stimulates prosocial behaviour. Aggression, defined as intentionally harming another person who is motivated to avoid the harm, runs counter to the motivation to increase others’ welfare and should be reduced among grateful people.
5. Being grateful helps you sleep better.
According to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. Writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep. Spend just 15 minutes jotting down a few grateful sentiments before bed, and you may sleep better and longer. Look inside and get the Live LIGHT Gratitude Journal http://revtrev.link/gratitude
6. Being grateful improves self-esteem.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that gratitude increased athlete's self-esteem, which is an essential component to optimal performance. Other studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons. Rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs – which is a major factor in reduced self-esteem- grateful people are able to appreciate other people's accomplishments.
7. Gratitude increases mental strength.
A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War Veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on September 11. Recognizing all you have to be thankful for – even during the worst times of your life – fosters resilience.
Open your eyes to the bounties that grace your world. When you do, you’ll live a more fulfilling life. Allow yourself to feel passion about the colour of the fall leaves, the peacefulness of the snow falling, or the beauty of the blue sky. Notice the feel of a warm coat against your skin or the love in your child’s hug. Maybe you’re even grateful for that first cup of morning coffee.
Get started today on your own gratitude journal. Write about everything that you’re grateful for. As you begin to give thanks, you’ll find your happiness increasing. Look inside and get the Live LIGHT Gratitude Journal http://revtrev.link/gratitude
5 Tools to experience Gratitude benefits
Sign up for the free 5-day Gratitude Challenge http://revtrev.link/challenge
Take the Live LIGHT Happier Mini-course http://revtrev.link/happier
Download the free ebook “What Most People Won’t Tell You About Gratitude” in the downloads http://revtrev.link/free
Look inside and get the Live LIGHT Gratitude Journal http://revtrev.link/gratitude
Discover the Live LIGHT Gratitude Reflections book and learn more http://revtrev.link/70reflections