With everything that has been going on lately in this world, it can sometimes be hard to think of things that you are grateful for. However, Thanksgiving is coming up and is the perfect way to remind yourself of everything you have to be thankful for. Being grateful has a lot of positive health benefits that come out of having an “attitude of gratitude”. There are also a lot of simple ways to remind yourself of everything that you have to be thankful for. This post will go over both the health benefits of gratitude, as well as how to have an “attitude of gratitude”.
One of the benefits of gratitude is that it opens the door to more relationships. By showing appreciation, it can help you win new friends. In a study published by Emotion in 2014, it was found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship. By acknowledging other people’s contributions, it can lead to new opportunities.
Gratitude can also improve physical health! Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and report feeling healthier than other people. Grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health. They exercise more often and are more likely to attend regular check-ups, which is also likely to contribute to further longevity.
Another benefit is that it can improve your psychological health. Being grateful reduces a lot of toxic emotions like envy, resentment, frustration and regret. Robert Emmons, the leading gratitude researcher, has found that gratitude effectively increases happiness and depression. Some other emotional benefits include enhancing empathy as well as reducing aggression.
Being grateful also can help you sleep better. In a 2011 study, it was found that just 15 minutes of jotting down things you were grateful for that day before bed may help you sleep better and longer.
Some other benefits include improving your self-esteem as well as increasing your mental strength. Rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs, grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments. For years, research has shown that gratitude not only reduces stress, but it also may play a huge role in overcoming trauma.
Having an attitude of gratitude may come naturally to some people, but for others, it may not. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Write a thank-you note
- You can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with another person by writing a quick thank-you note expressing your enjoyment and appreciation of that person’s impact on your life. You can mail it, or even better, deliver it and read it in person if possible. Make this a habit by sending at least one gratitude note a month. Every once and a while, you can write one to yourself too!
- Thank someone mentally
- Seeing as we’re all busy college students, you may not have the time to write a thank-you note. It may help to just think about someone who has done something nice for you and mentally thank that particular individual.
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Make it a habit to write down thoughts about the gifts you’ve received each day. Your gratitude journal doesn’t have to be fancy either, it can be an old notebook, or you can stop by our office hours on Thursdays from 11:45am-1:15pm to make one of your own! We also have included some ideas to journal about at the end of this post.
- Count your blessings
- Pick a time each week to sit down and write about your blessings – reflecting on what went right or what you are grateful for. Sometimes it can help to pick a specific number of things to identify for the week. As you write, be specific and think about how you felt when something good happened to you.
We hope that this post helped you realize how important it is to have an attitude of gratitude, as well as gave you some ideas on how to have that attitude.
Have a safe, happy, grateful, and healthy Thanksgiving break!