The Benefits of Keeping an Attitude of Gratitude
There’s no better time to adopt an Attitude of Gratitude than Thanksgiving. Heck, it’s the literal theme of the holiday! And with so many folks running around being grateful, even the crankiest person often finds themselves joining the crowd. Best of all, while Thanksgiving reminds everyone of the many great benefits to be found in being grateful, it also inspires them to keep being grateful throughout the entire year. That’s when the rewards really start pouring in!
And boy, will those rewards pour! We’re talking deluge, dig? The kind of once in a lifetime storm of which books are written and films are made. We’re not kidding either. Because when someone truly takes on an attitude of gratitude, even the gentlest of breezes can become hurricane force winds. The difference is these winds don’t tear the world apart, they blow it into a whole new dimension. One where everybody wins.
Attitude of Gratitude
Attitude of Gratitude is one of the most repeated phrases in the AA Playbook. You hear it from the sponsors, you hear it from the speakers and you hear it in the shares. Why? Because these folks know that an attitude of gratitude won’t just help keep someone sober – it can also save someone’s life.
Studies back up this firsthand knowledge – big time. From Harvard to Berkeley, UC/Davis to UM, scientists and psychologists have clocked hundreds of thousands of warm-blooded Americans and found that those who were truly thankful lived fuller and longer lives.
The Benefits of Gratitude
Since Wellable had already assembled some scientifically proven health benefits of gratitude, we turned to the good folks at Wellable. Here’s how it all plays out:
The main reason gratitude is consistently associated with greater happiness is because it helps people feel more positive emotions. Some studies showed that gratitude can even ease levels of depression.
People who focus on the positive rather than the negative are much more likely to experience joy, love and peace. And joy, love and peace are three essential components of emotional well-being.
Wellable discovered that there seems to be no end to the physical benefits provided by gratitude. For instance, keeping a gratitude journal not only improves diastolic blood pressure, but it also results in fewer headaches, cleaner skin, less stomach pain, and less congestion. They also found that an attitude of gratitude can lead to lower levels of stress hormones, improved immune function, and even a lower risk of heart disease.
The Journal of Psychosomatic Research ran a study which found that feeling grateful helps people sleep better and longer simply because they have more positive thoughts in their heads when they go to bed. They also found gratitude soothes the nervous system.
Friends and Family
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) backed a study that found mutual gratitude between partners increases feelings of connectedness and improves overall satisfaction with a relationship. It also found that even small gestures of thanks serve as a booster shot for romantic relationships. Couple aren’t the only ones who benefit from gratitude; in fact, researchers from the University of New South Wales found that thanking a new acquaintance for their help makes them more likely to seek an ongoing social relationship with you. It also provides a valuable signal that you are someone with whom a high-quality relationship could be formed.
Increased productivity might at first sound like something meant only for middle management, but it really concerns everyone from students to those nearing the end of their careers. After all, being unproductive and unmotivated can cause everlasting harms. It doesn’t make for god company either. Studies upon studies though show grateful folks don’t experience any such setbacks. That’s generally because their focus is on what was accomplished instead of what wasn’t. Even simply being grateful for an opportunity produced dividends; prompting one researcher to declare that “gratitude is the new willpower.”
Ways to Stay Grateful
Here are some of the ways Harvard Health suggests we cultivate our gratitude:
Thank You Notes
People have been sending Thank You notes since the days of stone tablets. Why? Because they served as a concrete way to show someone’s appreciation. Since people appreciate being appreciated, the practice became an easy and reliable way to forge and then strengthen bonds. And while the format has changed, the impact has not. People still appreciate being appreciated. And they tend to favor those who appreciate them. Besides, Thank You notes are good manners.
Thank You Thoughts
No time to write? Sometimes it helps just to think about someone who has done something nice for you, and then mentally thanking that person. Sure, it’s a little selfish. But at the end of the day, we’ve all first gotta take care ourselves.
Those who keep track of the gifts they’ve received each day tend to receive even more gifts, especially if they’re truly grateful for what’s been coming their way. And those who can find happiness in everything from a stranger’s kind word to a call from a friend, tend to keep receiving more than most. They also tend to be happiest. Call it the effects of compound gratitude.
Count Your Blessings
Even if you can’t get to the journal, you can at least get into your own head. When you get there, make a list of your blessings. Many folks like to sum up the day’s blessings before they go to sleep; others like to rise and shine with the brightness. Still others prefer to acknowledge a blessing right when it comes their way. All of them experience the warmth and joy of the blessing itself.
It’s All in the Attitude
These days most folks equate the word “attitude” with behavior that is arrogant and oft-putting; this “attitude” is just the opposite. It’s extending a hand as opposed to giving a finger; a smile instead of a sneer. And while it doesn’t mean dropping the swagger; it does mean not swaggering all over others. If “attitude” is having your thoughts and feelings made evident in your behavior (and it is), then this “attitude” shows you’re thinking and feeling great!
Healing Properties has been taking this attitude of gratitude for twenty solid years. So yeah, we’re more than a little aware of its benefits. We’re also more than a little blessed to see the effects gratitude can have on someone, especially those who don’t seem to be thankful for anything. But even after watching thousands and thousands of men rebuild their lives simply by adopting an attitude of gratitude, we still find the transformation a great joy to behold.
How about you? Are you willing to adopt an attitude of gratitude? Then please give us a ring. And Happy Thanksgiving!