5 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude That’ll Motivate You to Give Thanks This Thanksgiving & Beyond
If you’re like many of my readers, you’re already a high-achiever: perhaps you’re running your own small business, you’re a respected leader in your organization. Perhaps you’re starting a business or making a pivot in some important area.
You’re committed to making contributions in the work you do, and likely in your community and relationships, too. And you’re committed to results.
The success you’re looking for isn’t one-dimensional. You’re not just looking for financial results or even respect, influence or impact alone. On some level, you know that the secret to meaningful, lasting success is multi-dimensional. It includes:
- Your fulfilling relationships with those you love and care about
- Your own physical health and wellbeing
- Your financial prosperity and sense of abundance
- Your personal and professional growth: spiritually and emotionally as well as intellectually
- Your hobbies and passions outside of your work
- Your lasting impact or legacy
Are you looking for more from your work and your life?
For many of you, you want to live this multi-dimensional, more holistic view of success… yet it’s a struggle. I know firsthand from my own experience and from working with countless entrepreneurs and professionals.
Perhaps you’ve committed to one or more of the following:
- More fulfilling relationships – personally and professionally
- More quality time with your loved ones
- Increased productivity so you’re seeing those results you’re committed to
- Better health
- More happiness
- A sense of wellbeing
Yet you find it’s a struggle. You feel that your commitment to success in your business or at work means you’re shortchanging the time you want to spend with your family and friends. Or that your physical health is suffering – you’re not getting the exercise you need or eating as well as you could. And when you do focus on these other areas, you’re concerned that you’re missing something at work or losing critical momentum in your business.
If you are nodding your head in agreement to any of these, then I have another question for you…
What if I told you that one simple tool could help you across all of these areas today?
Prefer to watch? Here’s the video:
An Attitude of Gratitude
That tool is gratitude. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude is one of the simplest and most powerful ways to improve your life: the way you show up at work and as a business owner, the quality of your relationships, and even your physical health.
I’m not promising it’ll transform your work and your life in all areas overnight. But it is a powerful and profound place to start.
People who have strengthened the emotional muscle of gratitude are more aware of what’s working and what’s going well in their life. Because they enjoy and appreciate the fruits of their success now, they not only seek out but literally draw in more success. And, when things don’t go as planned, people who are grateful can put hard times and even failure into perspective.
I admit – I used to think gratitude was pretty cheesy. And I certainly wasn’t alone in that sentiment.
Many people think it’s unsophisticated or naive to be too grateful. Just the other day, I overheard a coffee-shop conversation about the recent mid-term elections. A sharply-dressed young man remarked to his friend: “I don’t see much to be grateful for these days… in this mad world we live in.”
I kept hearing references to gratitude from others I respected, so I decided to take a look at the research… and it turns out there’s quite a lot of it. Studies show that experiencing gratitude on a regular basis can positively impact your mental and emotional wellbeing as well as your ability to achieve – and to experience – that multi-dimensional success you’re seeking.
What the studies show is powerful: there are many concrete benefits to connecting with the feeling of gratitude on a regular basis.
Benefits of Gratitude
Since ancient times, philosophers and sages have taught that cultivating gratitude is a key to experiencing more happiness, fulfillment, and well-being. And now science and philosophy alike show us that gratitude is more than just a nice idea.
More recent studies show that an “attitude of gratitude” is even a good health choice.
Gratitude is an emotion connected to our ability to feel and express thankfulness and appreciation. Research by psychologist Robert Emmons – a leading gratitude researcher – found that people who consciously focus on what they’re grateful for experience more emotional wellbeing and physical health than those who don’t.
In comparison with control groups, those who actively cultivated a grateful perspective also experienced:
1. Improved physical health and well-being: A practice of gratitude is linked to better health, stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure. Grateful people are also more likely to keep up with regular exercise and take better care of their health. It’s also linked to improved sleep and having more energy and enthusiasm overall.
2. Improved relationships and social well-being: People who practice gratitude experience more feelings of connection and those lead to deeper, more fulfilling social life and relationships. They were also more likely to help others and to put things into a larger context – both qualities that led to improved relationships at work and at home.
3. More positive emotions such as joy, optimism and happiness: Multiple studies confirm that gratitude effectively increases happiness and can reduce anxiety and depression. A 2008 study by psychologist Alex Wood in the Journal of Research in Personality even shows that gratitude can reduce the frequency and duration of depression. This also results in less stress even during trying times.
4. Greater progress toward important goals: In a long-term research project on gratitude, Professors Robert A. Emmons, University of California, and Michael E. McCullough, University of Miami made some incredible discoveries. They found that participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important goals over a 2-month period.
5. Less stress and more resilience: In the face of serious trauma, adversity, and suffering, people who have cultivated a grateful disposition will recover more quickly. In other words, gratitude builds your resilience because it gives you a different perspective from which you can interpret negative life events to help guard against lasting stress and anxiety.
So it’s clear that gratitude is a powerful tool. If we build our own emotional muscle of gratitude, we can use it to increase our happiness, create more loving relationships, meet more of our professional goals, and even improve our health.
And as the research shows, if you want more happiness, energy and joy – gratitude is clearly an important quality to cultivate. Being more grateful more often makes us happier and more optimistic.
So how do you become more grateful?
How can you actually implement gratitude in your personal and professional life? In my next post, I’ll share a few simple, practical ways to develop your own gratitude muscle. You can also click here to get a free copy of The Attitude of Gratitude: 10 Ways to Feel More Grateful Today. This short guide will give you 10 tools, backed by research, so you can work with those that resonate the most for you.
Any of these gratitude practices has the power to transform your life in a very positive way. But everyone is different in what might work for them.
That’s why I want to offer you a few more gratitude action steps that can greatly impact your work and life (and ones I’ve seen major results with for my clients – and in my own life).
Once you take a peek, let me know what you think by sending me a quick email. What’s most important is that you take a few moments to focus your mind on your blessings and allow yourself to connect with the feeling of gratitude.
So as another Thanksgiving holiday is upon us in the U.S.… what are you grateful for today?