Five Benefits of Practicing Gratitude - Backed By Science!
You may have heard gratitude is a good thing, but wondered what the fuss is about? Can it actually make a difference? Well we're glad to say that gratitude has been scientifically proven to have many benefits. Its a simple practice yet one that may be one of the most overlooked tools that we all have access to every day.
1. Gratitude increases happiness and mental wellbeing
Yes, it is true! Actively practicing gratitude regularly increases your baseline happiness. By focusing on what we are grateful for we invite positive thoughts and emotions into our mind which in turn reduce the negative emotions we may be harbouring such as envy, resentment, frustration and regret. Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being for over a decade which has shown gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.
2. Gratitude improves physical health
Studies show that happier people are 50% less likely to catch a cold virus … just wow! It also reduces anxiety and depression. Studies by Emmons and his colleague Michael McCullough suggest gratitude strengthens the immune system, lowers blood pressure, reduces symptoms of illness, and makes us less bothered by aches and pains. It also encourages you to exercise more and take better care of your health.
3. Gratitude enhances empathy, kindness and reduces aggression
Studies show that if you experience gratitude, you are more likely to behave in a pro-social manner. Grateful people are more likely to be out doing good, than be out causing problems (think teens here!), because gratitude fosters kindness. Grateful people have more empathy and kindness, even when faced with adversity, according to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky. Study participants who ranked higher on gratitude scales were less likely to retaliate against others, even when given negative feedback. They experienced more sensitivity and empathy toward other people and a decreased desire to seek revenge.
4. Gratitude improves self-esteem
Our self-esteem is linked to the way we perceive ourselves, and to a degree influence by how we compared ourselves to others. Studies have shown that practicing gratitude reduces social comparisons, so rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs, grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments. This has been backed up further in a 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology which found that gratitude increased athlete’s self-esteem, which is an essential component to optimal performance.
5. Gratitude increases resilience
There have been many studies over the years that show gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in building resilience and overcoming trauma. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on September 11. Recognising all you have to be thankful for – even during the worst times of your life – fosters resilience.
It doesn't come naturally but if we can look for the lessons learned or the 'silver lining' when bad stuff happens in life it will help them to bounce back quicker and in turn be more resilient.
Our simple resilience building tools will help you practice these behaviours and positively influence your well-being.
Our adult Mini-gratitude Journals are great for when you're on the go, hardcover Gratitude Journals with prompts and motivational quotes, to popular children's Awesome Ends In Me, there's no excuse, or if you're still in doubt Daily Grateful Box is a fun way to start practicing gratitude, for yourself, as a couple or a family exercise.