It’s easy to take things for granted. We may appreciate things for a while, but, sure enough, we eventually start discounting them. The unhappy result is that we can go through long stretches of our lives without noticing the good things.
The benefits of gratitude show up not only in hordes of modern scientific studies but also in centuries of shared wisdom. All the major religions encourage and celebrate gratitude. And many great spiritual teachers have been powerful exemplars of living with a grateful heart attuned to the wonders of creation.
20 Benefits of Gratitude in Our Lives
Feeling gratitude has an astonishing number of benefits. Professor Sonja Lyubomirsky from University of California, Riverside and other researchers have found that gratitude can:
1. Magnify good feelings.
2. Improve our sense of wellbeing, happiness, and overall life satisfaction.
If you want to find happiness, find gratitude. -Steve Maraboli, author
3. Lead to better mental and physical health, including lower blood pressure, better sleep, and a stronger immune system.
4. Boost our energy and enhance our vitality.
5. Bolster our capacity for optimism.
6. Reduce negative feelings like anger, bitterness, self-centeredness, envy, and greed—all of which inhibit our happiness—and curb our tendency to compare ourselves to others.
7. Lead to greater generosity, kindness, and helpfulness (“prosocial” behaviours).
8. Help us form closer and better relationships with friends—and maintain them over time.
9. Expand our social network, giving us access to more friends and greater social support while making it less likely that we’re lonely and disconnected.
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10. Affect our brains in positive and lasting ways, including an orientation toward enjoying it when other people thrive.
11. Shift our attention away from negative emotions (e.g., fault, criticism, regret) and toward positive ones (e.g., benefit, abundance, joy), making it harder for us to ruminate.
12. Help us cope with and build resilience in the face of stress and traumatic events.
…it is precisely under crisis conditions when we have the most to gain by a grateful perspective on life. In the face of demoralization, gratitude has the power to energize. In the face of brokenness, gratitude has the power to heal. In the face of despair, gratitude has the power to bring hope. In other words, gratitude can help us cope with hard times. -Dr. Robert Emmons, Professor of Psychology, University of California, Davis
13. Help us become more forgiving.
14. Enhance our sense of self-worth. (We feel more capable and confident when we realize how much others have done for us or how much we’ve accomplished.)
15. Reduce our tendency to complain and feel like a victim since it focuses our attention on what we value and appreciate.
16. Help us maintain a broader and better perspective in which we can place our challenges in the larger context of abundance and privilege.
17. Address the problem of “hedonic adaptation,” in which we tend to grow rapidly accustomed to the things we wanted and got.
18. Help our children and youth. According to research, more grateful adolescents and college students show keener interest in school, do better academically, have better social relationships, and enjoy their educational experience more.
19. Help people facing drug and alcohol addiction.
20. Provide some degree of protection against depression and suicidal ideation.
What will you do to start bringing more gratitude into your life, starting today?
This article was first published on greggvanourek.com