Gratitude is an incredibly powerful emotion. Not only is the feeling of gratitude an extension of happiness, it has been proven to be good for our health in so many ways. Last week, happiness ambassador and author of Solve for Happy, Mo Gawdat, shared his Happiness Formula with Rituals. That simple graphic illustrated that we feel happy when life meets our expectations. Gratitude is the next level, when life exceeds your expectations and, in turn, you feel grateful. According to Mo, this feeling engages the parasympathetic nervous system and allows us to truly relax into life. And, when we feel grateful we are able to better fend off the negative thoughts that can often cloud our mindset. It’s a win, win.
But why is being grateful really so important for a happy life? Keep reading for 5 benefits of being grateful.
Gratitude improves sleep
One study found that people who scored higher on a gratitude test were able to fall asleep faster, slept longer, had a better quality of sleep, and found it easier to stay awake throughout the day.
Gratitude keeps the doctor away
Gratitude also benefits the health of both your mind and body. Grateful people made less frequent visits to the doctors, they had lower blood pressure and were less likely to develop a mental health disorder. Want to flex your gratitude muscle? Spending just 5 minutes each day writing in a gratitude journal can increase long-term wellbeing by more than 10%.
Gratitude helps with resilience
Counting your blessings, rather than just thinking positively helps people to get through times of hardship. Life isn’t plain sailing, but being grateful has been found to boost productivity, which may help you get through the demanding periods of life with more ease.
Grateful people are more active
When we feel good, we tend to want to do more things that make us feel good. That’s why one study found that people who count their blessings by keeping a gratitude journal exercised 40 minutes more per week than the control group.
Gratitude improves relationships
Various studies have shown that gratitude for others improves relationships both in terms of trust and loyalty. It’s also a relationship-sustaining emotion, so feelings of gratitude towards a loved one, friends, even colleagues can help you to build bonds that last.
TODAY’S HAPPINESS TASK
We’re almost at the end of The Happiness Challenge so today we have two tasks for you! Happy people are grateful, so we want you to start the day by listening to this meditation designed to guide you into a place of gratitude. Okay, you might not be into meditation but try it this once, it's a really easy way to get into the gratitude flow!
Then this evening, before you hit your pillow, reflect on all the things that made you feel grateful during the day. If you do one or both of these tasks regularly, not only will they fill you with gratitude but they will contribute to a more positive mindset, too!
Click here for the Happiness Challenge.