The Benefits of Gratitude

While going on my daily morning walk the other day, I was filled with gratitude about the wonder around me. I was thankful for the beautiful sunrise, the warm weather, my ability to walk with ease, the birds chirping in the trees, and the colorful flowers along the sidewalk.

Do you ever take time to consider what you’re grateful for? With Thanksgiving coming up, it’s a good time to reflect on what you are thankful for in your life. You can be thankful some broad and significant things, such as your spouse, kids, job, health, or financial security. Or you can consider smaller and still important areas, such as having food on the table, avoiding traffic this morning, or getting a quiet moment to read the newspaper and sip coffee.

Whatever you’re thankful for, it’s valuable to set aside time each day to truly reflect on these things. Practicing gratitude is proven to have a beneficial impact on your well-being.

Studies show practicing gratitude has the following effects:

  • Gratitude improves your mental health and well-being: Practicing gratitude effectively lowers feelings of resentment, envy, regret, and frustration. Conversely, it increases feelings of happiness while decreasing depression.

  • Gratitude improves your physical health and well-being: Studies show people who practice gratitude experience less pain and aching. People who focus on what they are grateful for also report feeling healthy to a higher degree than those who do not practice gratitude.

  • Gratitude can improve sleep: One study has shown writing what you are grateful for before bed can help you sleep better and longer.

There are many more effects of gratitude shown in studies, encouraging us to begin practicing gratitude today. With all that is going on in our lives, it’s a great time to begin focusing on what we are thankful for.

If you already practice reciting daily affirmations, it may be easiest to add practicing gratitude to your routine. If you don’t know where to start, begin by choosing a specific time in your day to spend a few minutes thinking about what you are grateful for. Writing a list is a helpful way to remember and review what you are thankful for, especially during difficult times. Continue practicing gratitude each day, whether it’s at the breakfast table, on a short walk during lunch, or right before going to bed.

Whatever time you choose, whatever things you write down or reflect on, practicing gratitude is a beneficial practice. What are you grateful for today?