7 Benefits of Daily Gratitude
Gratitude has many health benefits. Specifically, gratitude improves physical, social, and emotional health. As a result, a few minutes a day can make a big difference overtime. You should give it a try. It may surprise you to experience one of these seven outcomes.
Increased Creative Productivity
The Broaden and Build theory from Positive Psychology captures one of the benefits of gratitude. The theory consists of two parts: Broaden and Build.
- Broaden: Positive emotions broaden our perspective. Consequently, allowing us to identify more solutions.
- Build: Positive emotions build our resources over time.
In other words, we can think outside of the box when we are grateful. It therefore improves our ability to solve problems. We can recognize overlooked resources. Additionally, those overlooked resources may be the very solution to the problem. Practicing gratitude enables us to see those solutions.
According to a Gallup poll, 90% of American teens and adults report being happy when expressing gratitude. Unsurprisingly, gratitude makes us happy. We become encouraged and hopeful. Gratitude brings us joy and creates an upward spiral toward positivity. In addition, gratitude can undo a downward spiral into negativity. This however does not indicate that the negative emotions should be ignored. The challenge is to find the spark that initiates the upward spiral and gratitude can be that spark.
Gratitude can be a powerful weapon when faced with obstacles. Traumatic life events, for example, may cause someone to re-evaluate their life. As a result, they may come to appreciate blessings that are often taken for granted. In other words, challenging circumstances can help us rediscover hope, love, and joy. This process is referred to as post-traumatic growth. No one would ever claim to be grateful for going through a traumatic event, however gratitude can be expressed for lessons learned and loved ones who journeyed by your side. The expression of gratitude can help make the trial more bearable.
The mind, body, and spirit are all interconnected with one another. This means any activity that is good for the soul is also good for the mind and body. Gratitude improves our mood and activate the part of our brain for creativity. Therefore, gratitude will also have positive effects on our physical body. According to a study done in 2003, those who practiced gratitude had fewer physical complaints and engaged in more frequent exercise. Gratitude even improves sleep by helping people feel more refreshed in the morning.
Increase of Helping Behavior
Grateful people appear creative as they formulate actions that promote the well-being of other people, including, but not limited, to the original benefactor.The Psychology of Gratitude. pg. 151
Gratitude helps equip people to be effective helpers. For example, expressions of gratitude include offering help to someone, “paying it forward,” or providing a simple thank you. It brings to mind the image of a cup overflowing because gratitude prompts us to share our blessings. A grateful individual believes there is no limit to God’s gifts. Therefore, they are able to give freely without fear. A grateful person is more inclined to be a giving person. A grateful person finds joy in helping others.
Gratitude can help improve our relationships as well. Everyone enjoys being told how much they are appreciated. Expressing gratitude communicates to our loved ones that they are important to us. It therefore contributes to maintaining healthy relationships. Infusing our relationships with gratitude is one way to keep a positive cycle flowing. Specific and genuine expressions of gratitude can brighten anyone’s day.
Finally, people who rate higher on feelings of gratitude, also rate higher on measures of religion and spirituality. Gratitude reminds us that God is the giver of all life. He is the source of all good things. Our ability to grow through hardship is a miracle only made possible by God. Additionally, gratitude brings us closer to God. We learn to appreciate everything He has given us. As a result, we are motivated to return the favor.
In short, Gratitude has many benefits. Gratitude make us happy. It benefits us and those around us. It improves our relationship with God and others. We become more hopeful. Our motivation to help others increases. In other words, we become better Christ Ambassadors.
Emmons, Robert A. and McCullough, Michael E. (2004). The Psychology of Gratitude. Oxford University Press. New York, NY.
Wood, Alex M., Froth, Jeffrey J., & Geraghty, Adam W.A. (2010). Gratitude and Well-Being: A review and theoretical integration. Clinical Psychology Review.
Gratitude in Practice and the Practice of Gratitude. From Positive Psychology in Practice (2004). John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Hoboken, NJ.
Magyar-Moe, Jeana L. (2009). Therapist’s Guide to Positive Psychology Interventions. Academic Press.