Looking to take your health and wellbeing to the next level? Then you’re going to want to read the 10 life changing benefits of gratitude and start your practice today.
I recently wrote about how to start a gratitude practice. A formal one. Not one where you think about something positive in passing, once a month.
The practice includes writing down 10 things you’re grateful for every day for 14 days. Putting pen to paper and being consistent is a real game changer. Do it to see real results.
I’ve been doing this consistent practice now for over a month and have seen some amazing results. Here are the top 10 gratitude benefits I experienced, and that a lot of research has backed up as well.
Benefits of Gratitude
1. Improves Your Health
I talked about the scrape I got on my pinky last week and it kept catching on everything, and I was really annoyed. My new gratitude practice helped me shift my focus to the 9 perfectly working fingers I did have. Then that moved to the two strong arms, legs, and body that perform thousands of feats on its own every day. It really is truly amazing – the body and gratitude.
Studies have shown that people who are grateful report fewer body aches and issues than other people. They’re also more likely to exercise and regularly visit a doctor. Let’s be grateful for that!
2. Multiplies the Good
The law of attraction works big time with a gratitude practice. If you’re on the hunt for things to be grateful for, you will definitely find them. The more I looked for great things in my life, the more I found them. The practice snowballed where I started to see wonderful moments around every corner.
The opposite is true as well. If all you’re doing is focusing on the pain in your body and brain, your body and brain are going to assume there’s some serious stuff wrong since that’s all you think about. Your brain will seek out to confirm your feelings and find more for you to be unhappy about.
Try putting your attention on what is working so you can watch the good stuff grow. You want to consistently be moving toward the positive in your life.
3. Increases Your Energy
Having gratitude can increase your energy. You know how you feel when you’re in a bad mood? You’re probably not your most energetic. I’m guessing all you feel like doing is laying on the couch and eating junk food.
Now compare that to how you feel having after having a kick butt, great day. Your energy is noticeably different.
Having gratitude can shift your energy to this higher, happiness field by consistently noticing all of the little wins, beauty, and experiences that occur everyday. Look for the good and feel good in the process.
4. Keeps You Present
Sometimes I drift down the what if path. You know the one.
What if this project fails? What if people don’t like my idea? What if I make a huge mistake? I’ll tell you right now that this game is not a helpful use of brainpower.
You know what is? Looking at all the things that are going well. Look at what’s happening right now, right in front of you. Chances are there isn’t a grizzly bear standing there, ready to eat you.
Staying present and positive helps turn the negative chatter off. When I’m looking for the good in things, I’m in the moment and not ruminating on the things that could go wrong. This gratitude practice can help you stay upbeat and present.
5. Makes You More Patient
When you spend more time focusing on the good of the smallest details, you’re more likely to have increased patience. There’s even science to back this up.
When I found myself getting annoyed at things like waiting in a long line, I took that opportunity to see what I could be grateful for in the moment.
Sometimes that led to talking with someone in line and connecting through a shared experience, which always seems to lessen any pain.
Sometimes I used extra idle time to notice things I never had. It’s pretty amazing how the grocery stores connect with the farmers to get food to us. There’s packaging and displays, check out people and baggers. Having traveled to a lot of underdeveloped countries, I think we have an amazing system that people shouldn’t take for granted.
6. Allows You to Zoom Out and Gain Perspective
To go back to my pinky example once again, focusing on the pain in my pinky was not doing me any favors. It did not make the pain go away. In fact, the pain seemed worse.
When I started focusing on the rest of my strong body working so well, that little pinky pain was nearly forgotten.
Gratitude allows you to zoom out on a potentially negative situation. Do you ever fight with your partner on taking out the trash? Perhaps zooming out to see all of the other helpful ways he contributes can assist in alleviating the situation and recognizing other positives that are happening.
7. Increases Optimism
Start seeing all the good to be grateful for, skip the negative. If you look for negative, you find negative. As I started to look for more gratitude pieces to add to my list, I kept looking for the silver lining to everything.
I started catching myself much faster when I noticed my thoughts drifting towards negative-land. I’d try and look at things using a different perspective.
Once I looked for the lesson or silver lining, I was able to reframe the situation into something more positive.
8. Improves Relationships
Being grateful can even help improve your relationships. Research showed that when you thank a new acquaintance, that person is more likely to want to pursue a relationship.
Romantic relationships can benefit from gratitude as well. Partners who were open and appreciative felt better in the relationship and more able to communicate about any issues.
Remembering why you chose your partner will do much more for the relationship than rehashing all the things you don’t like about him.
9. Makes You More Resilient
Having a gratitude practice can help you more quickly see another perspective.
If you’re spending your time looking for the silver lining instead of more things to be upset about, you’re probably going to be happier.
10. Increases Happiness
And last but definitely not least, research has shown that being grateful can make you happier. Focusing on the things you have was shown to make people happier and more optimistic.
The simple intention of looking for the good, instead of harping on the bad, had profound effects on people’s happiness.
Makes sense right? If you’re seeing a bunch of great things happening all around you, you’re going to be pretty dang happy.
Are you sold on the benefits of gratitude? There’s so much to gain and so little to lose. It’s also super easy, fast, and free. Anyone can do it. Here’s your primer.
I do recommend being consistent with your gratitude practice. Try doing the written program for at least 14 days to start and see what changes begin to unfold. After 14 days, if you’re feeling great, you might want to continue and make it a regular practice in your life.