The holiday season is generally a popular time for people to remember to give thanks for the many gifts in their life. Recently, I looked deeper into the relationship between practicing daily gratitude and creating a positive environment of health and wellness and found the connection significant. Conveying gratitude not only makes one feel good but also can make the world a better place to live.
The following are seven ways in which gratitude can benefit you and your friends, family, neighbors, and community:
- Gratitude may create opportunities for you and others. Saying thank you to others or showing your appreciation may help deepen ongoing relationships with co-workers and friends and create new opportunities. People who you thank may also be more likely to help or thank others and “pay it forward.”
- Gratitude may improve physical health. Grateful people may feel healthier than other people and may even have lower blood pressure and stronger immune systems. A healthier population could reduce the strain on our healthcare system and over time could result in lower healthcare costs for us all.
- Gratitude may improve psychological health. Being grateful may help reduce a myriad of toxic internal emotions: envy, jealousy, resentment, and regret. Associating with happier people may improve daily life and make interactions with others more pleasant.
- Gratitude may enhance empathy and reduce aggression. Those who are grateful may tend to act in a kind and sensitive manner toward others and may be less likely to retaliate or seek revenge or engage in disruptive behavior. Better behavior could mean less criminal activity and fewer people in the correctional system.
- Gratitude may improve sleep patterns. People who think about what they are grateful for a few minutes when they get into bed may sleep better. Doing this is a form of meditation and relaxation that can bring a sense of calm. People who are better rested may be more alert and better drivers, making the roads a safer place for everyone.
- Gratitude may improve self-esteem. Being grateful may reduce resentment toward others who appear to have more money, better jobs, or better lives, which in turn may improve one’s self-esteem. Employees who have higher self-esteem may trust their own thinking and judgment and make better decisions in the workplace.
- Gratitude may increase mental strength. Being grateful when faced with traumatic situations, such as the loss of a loved one, physical injuries, or property damage, may foster resilience and help people’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Mental toughness and grit may impact one’s ability to achieve more and help create a more productive society.
As you can see, gratitude can be beneficial to people’s lives in a myriad of ways. There are many techniques to make gratitude a daily part of your life. Some of my favorite include:
- Noticing the beauty in nature: the changing of the seasons, the colors of the leaves
- Embracing challenges and looking for opportunities for personal growth
- Practicing love through language and acts of kindness: Saying thank you, complimenting someone, or doing a small task for someone other than yourself
This holiday season, I am grateful for my family, friends, and co-workers. After the holiday parties and gatherings are over and the daily routine returns, I hope to remember to practice daily gratitude and share the benefits with the world.