Hi, it’s Dr. Jeffrey Mark. Today I’d like to share with you 7 proven reasons why you should practice gratitude in your life.
1. Gratitude strengthens and enhances relationships. Thanking people is often the right thing to do but the benefits go beyond etiquette. It helps facilitate more interaction and people like helping or interacting with people that acknowledge their help and make them feel appreciated. New opportunities often open up.
2. Gratitude improves your body’s health. In a study published in Personality and Individual Differences it was found that grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and feel generally healthier than other people. This reinforces the drive to take better care of themselves to keep feeling healthier. These people were found to exercise, eat better, and keep regular doctor’s visits.
3. Gratitude improves your mental health. Research has demonstrated there is a connection between gratitude and positive emotions, and contentment. Gratitude seems to be the antidote to damaging emotions like resentment, envy, and regret. There is a connection between those practicing gratitude and more happiness and less depression.
4. Gratitude promotes empathy and diminishes aggression. A 2012 study from the University of Kentucky showed that grateful people socially interact with people in a positive manner that promotes favorable responses in return. Those that were identified in the higher gratitude scales were much lower on the indicators of retaliation against others even when challenged with aggressive negative behavior. These more grateful people were more sensitive, empathetics, and were less inclined to seek retaliatory behavior towards aggressors.
5. Grateful people have better sleep. In an Applied Psychology Health and Well Being study it was found that keeping a journal just 15 minutes a day before bedtime recording the things one was thankful for that happened during the course of the day resulted in more restful, deeper, higher quality sleep.
6. Gratitude enhances self-esteem. It has been found that the brain associates gratitude with success. The brain patterns of successful people were compared to those with gratitude. In general successful people were grateful and the grateful people felt successful as the brain does not seem to distinguish the two. In the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology it was found that gratitude increased athletes’ self -esteem which is one of the key components of peak performance. Grateful people are more likely to acknowledge other successful people and rather than become resentful, further their goals towards success and continuing to feel gratitude.
7. Gratitude enhances mental resilience. A 2006 study in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War veterans that had higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of post traumatic stress disorder. Gratitude therefore not only helps reduce stress implied by the first 6 benefits listed above but also seems to be key in overcoming major traumatic events. In the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology it was found that gratitude was the key factor in people getting through the trauma of the September 11th terrorist attack. Being able to recall all the things that you are thankful for creates a deposit in your mental bank account that you can withdraw upon even in the worst situations and gives you the currency to get through the crisis with strong mental resilience.
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