How Practicing Gratitude Will Improve Your Health

A month ago I was approached to give a keynote speech at a leadership conference. They were asking me to talk about the importance of failure, as it’s a topic I’ve publically spoken about many times. Woven into that talk, they wanted me to talk about building strong teams. I knew immediately that I had to talk about gratitude!

Gratitude is the quality of being thankful. It’s also a readiness to show appreciation for others and willingness and action of returning the kindness. We’ve all been told to say thank you since we were in our pamper diapers, but it’s something that we all forget to do. Whether it’s saying thank you to friends, colleagues, and even yourself, gratitude has the ability to improve the lives of everyone around us.

So here are 6 reasons why you need to say thank you every day:

1. You’ll have stronger friendships.

Studies show that thanking new friends make them more likely to seek out ongoing relationships. I know this one seems pretty obvious, but try it out. After having coffee with someone for the first time, shoot them a little thank you text or Facebook message. They’ll feel warm and fuzzy and more likely to hang out with you again!

2. You’ll take better care of your health.

Studies have shown that people who practice gratitude take better care of their health. They exercise more and they attend doctor’s appointments more often, keeping their bodies in tip top shape!

3. You’ll be happier and less likely to develop depression.

It’s true! Studies show that people who are thankful are happier and decreased depression. Think about it. Usually, when we show genuine gratitude, other people’s faces will light up and it’s contagious! You yourself will get that warm fuzzy glow leaving you happier than you were before.

4. You’re more likely to help others.

If you’re looking to strengthen team dynamics, start saying thanks! It’s been shown that when you’re practicing gratitude, you’re more likely to behave in a prosocial manner. You’re also more likely to show sensitivity and empathy towards others.  

5. You’ll get better sleep.

How many times a week do you say, WHY AM I SO TIRED?!? Well, here’s one simple hack to improve your sleep. Psych studies have shown that writing down what you’re thankful for before bed improves your sleep. I keep a journal need to my bed and try to write down three things a day that I’m thankful for. It can be as simple as, “I’m thankful I was able to wake up on time today” or as grand as “I’m thankful that I was able to book a vacation.” Whatever it is, you can often find a few small things in each day to be thankful for!

6. You’ll have better self-esteem!

One of my favorite benefits of showing thanks! Gratitude reduces social comparisons, increases self-esteem, and allows you to better appreciate other people’s accomplishments. Sounds like a win-win to me!

Sounds like gratitude may be the answer to a happier and healthier life. I find writing thank you notes as one of the simplest ways to show gratitude. I challenge you to write one to a friend, one to a family member, and one to yourself each month. It’s a super easy way to spread joy to both yourself and others. So what are you waiting for? Get thanking!!

Featured image via elizabethmerkulova

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