10 Reasons Why Gratitude is Good for You

smiley face stickyI think many people nowadays have heard that gratitude is good for us, but if you haven’t, or want a recap on how and why, here’s 10 reasons below. Please share them with others so that more people enjoy the benefits of gratitude.

 

1. It’s good for mental health

Studies show that a regular gratitude practice (like keeping a daily or weekly gratitude journal) boosts happiness. Research that compared people who were asked to count blessings with people asked to count hassles and annoyances found that the gratitude groups were around 25% happier.

2. It helps counter stress

We get stressed when we put all of our attention on hassles, frustration, and problems. Gratitude takes our minds away from these things, thereby relieving the stress that they bring. And gratitude as a practice improves our ability to switch our focus in the moment and also helps us notice more of the good things in life that we wouldn’t normally pay as much attention to.

3. It inspires us to exercise more

We feel better when we practice gratitude and many people who do so are then inspired to do things that are good for them, including exercise. One of the findings of a 2003 research study was that people who kept weekly gratitude journals exercised more than those who kept hassles journals.

4. It helps us achieve our goals

Over a measured 2-month period, research also showed that people making gratitude lists were found to be more likely to make progress towards important personal goals. Not only do we feel more motivated when we feel good but we are also more creative and more likely to spot solutions to our problems.

5. It makes us kinder

One finding of gratitude research is that people keeping daily gratitude lists are more likely to help someone in need, when compared with people making lists of hassles.

6. Makes you feel less lonely (more connected)

Making us more kind also improves our relationships and connections with others. Some participants in gratitude studies indeed report feeling more connected to people. Some people practicing gratitude also feel more connected and part of life as a whole. It increases their sense of belonging in the world.

7. It helps us sleep better

In his inspiring book, ‘Thanks: How the new science of gratitude can make you happier’, Robert Emmons, the world’s foremost gratitude researcher, encourages us to “count blessings, not sheep” if we can’t get to sleep. Moving the mind away from worries and stresses and towards good things helps relax us, making dropping off to sleep much more likely.

8. It makes you feel more in control of your life (more optimism)

After observing that gratitude is having a positive effect on life and emotions, we begin to feel more optimistic and in control of our lives, rather than being bounced around by life events. With renewed optimism and strength, gratitude can even help us to turn our lives around.

9. People like you better

Some gratitude practices involve thinking of people we’re grateful for and the reasons why. A side-effect of this is that it improves the quality of our relationships with them. It also helps us see the best in people and therefore bring out the best in them. Overall, it make us warmer towards others. People tend to like people like this.

10. Better Health

It’s good for our overall physical health and cardiovascular health. As well as making exercise more likely, some research shows that gratitude gives us better immune systems and even lower blood pressure.

Gratitude is a practice, and like all practices we need to be consistent to get best results. I recommend you make a big deal of your gratitude practice so that you are encouraged to be consistent. Get a nice journal and draw or paint the words, ‘My Gratitude Journal on It’. I like to use a journal with nice paper and also use a pen that feels nice.

You can keep it beside your bed or carry it around with you in your bag. You can keep note of things that occur daily that you’re grateful for, and even jot down reasons why you’re grateful for particular people in your life. I’d also recommend that you also include things you’re grateful for about yourself – your personality, your strengths, your talents, who you are, the way you are with people, animals, etc … anything, really, that reminds you that you are enough!

Happy journaling. 🙂

 

Notes and recommended reading:

Many of these points are from my own personal observations and from feedback from workshop participants.

All research quoted above can be found in the following two books:

David R Hamilton PhD, ‘Why Kindness is Good for You’ (Hay House, 2010). In particular, see Chapter 11, “Counting Blessings” (Amazon UK paperback) (Amazon UK Kindle) (Amazon.com paperback) (Amazon.com Kindle)

Robert Emmons, ‘Thanks: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier’ (Mariner Books, 2008) (Amazon UK paperback) (Amazon.com paperback)

12 thoughts on “10 Reasons Why Gratitude is Good for You

  1. Thank you very much, I was just writing about my 2014 resolution to Practice Gratitude when your update posted! Serendipity, and a good reminder for me to spend 5 minutes today. Thanks!

  2. Tracy

    Last year completed 100 days of gratitude on Facebook, certainly made a huge difference to me. Always start and finish my day being grateful 🙂

  3. Awesome stuff.

    I found gratitude/thankfulness very necessary when facing the darker days of life. It made each day worth seeing through. Now I do it to remind myself to celebrate the Good things. My resolution this year was to do a daily journal of Thankfulness. I need to keep up with it, because it’s already lovely to look back through.

  4. Gratitude has become an absolute essential in my life, after I have seen the difference that consciously being grateful has made. I can’t recommend it highly enough. I keep a gratitude journal every night, and aim to write at least 5 things. It’s quite a challenge writing any less than 10 🙂

  5. David R. Hamilton PhD

    Thanks John. 🙂

  6. David R. Hamilton PhD

    Thanks for your comment Diane. It’s funny, but it sometimes takes personal experiences with how gratitude touches us to inspire us to keep up a practice. Well done! 🙂

  7. David R. Hamilton PhD

    Thanks for your comment. I have found that too, and I also very much enjoy looking over previous lists I’ve made. They always make me smile, and appreciate life just that little bit more. 🙂

  8. David R. Hamilton PhD

    Well done Tracy! 🙂

  9. David R. Hamilton PhD

    I love the timing Ruthe. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *