Gratitude may be one of the most overlooked self-improvement methods available. People who deal with depression, health problems and conflict can find relief through the simple act of adding gratitude to their day. How can gratitude help you?
Gratitude improves your physical health. According to a study done in 2012, people who exhibit gratitude report fewer pains and feel healthier than those who don’t. As a result, they take better care of their health by exercising more often and getting regular check-ups. It’s a positive cycle that contributes to better well-being. The more grateful you are, the better you feel. The better you feel, the more grateful you are.
Gratitude improves empathy and reduces aggression. People who show gratitude are more empathetic towards others, even when people may be less than kind in return. There is a distinct reduction in aggression and violence when people practice showing gratitude. It reduces the tendency to lash out in anger and decreases the desire to seek revenge.
Gratitude paves the way for new relationships. The simple act of saying ‘thank you’ to a new acquaintance will make it more likely that they will feel positive about future interactions with you.
By acknowledging the contributions of others, you are giving them the chance to start a long-term relationship that can benefit you both. Say thank you to the stranger who helped pick up your dropped files, the co-worker who holds the door open for you or the sales clerk who helps you find the product you need. It can start small, and it counts.
Gratitude reduces stress. Elevated levels of gratitude have been shown to reduce the amount of cortisol in a person, reducing stress in a powerful way. When individuals are faced with tension, their cortisol levels rise, causing feelings of anxiety and stress.
Respondents who elevated their level of gratitude by listing things they’re thankful for, expressing gratitude to others or considering the ways they’ve been fortunate demonstrate a reduced level of cortisol. According to Dr. Joe Dispenza, this natural process of stress reduction is more powerful than any medication.
Gratitude improves your self-esteem. It has been said that comparison is the thief of joy. When you spend time comparing yourself to others, you often find that don’t measure up. In a world more driven by social media, it is easy to compare your life to the Insta-perfect world presented online and become depressed.
Rather than becoming resentful towards others for what they have, developing a sense of gratitude can help you feel better about what you already have. It downplays your resentment of others and promotes a feeling of appreciation for what others have accomplished.
How can you start to demonstrate gratitude in your life? Put into practice, this could be sending a quick note of thanks to a colleague for their assistance, emailing a vendor to thank them for going out of their way to help with a sale or thanking a customer for their continued business. Showing gratitude can be a powerful tool that improves your own life, as well as the lives of those around you. Who can you thank today?
Michele Bailey is president and CEO of Blazing Agency and My Big Idea®. These two lines of business work congruently to support her clients’ success.