Expressing gratitude makes us healthy, wealthy and wise. Gratitude helps us lose weight, lowers our blood pressure and decreases stress. It helps us spend less and make more. Gratitude just plain helps us make better decisions.
Too good to be true? Not at all. And there's science to back it up.
PsychologyToday reports: "Studies show that we can deliberately cultivate gratitude, and can increase our well-being and happiness by doing so. In addition, grateful thinking — and especially expression of it to others — is associated with increased levels of energy, optimism, and empathy."
Feeling gratitude increases earning power
The basis for feeling gratitude is recognizing good things in our lives. People who are grateful are more likely to attract customers and clients. In a Forbes leadership article, author David Hosager says, "[W]hat are the qualities that attract you to another person? When I ask this question during speaking sessions, I often hear words like charisma, kindness, or physical appearance. The audience is usually surprised when I tell them that the most magnetic trait is not charisma or even a smile but gratitude." Magnetic people attract good things — including bigger paychecks.
Being grateful decreases the need to spend money on "more stuff" — especially stuff you don't need.
One definition of gratitude is being grateful for what you have — and when you feel that you have enough, do you truly need more? Some people shop to displace their dissatisfaction with life. Emotional shopping is disguised under the alias of "retail therapy." Whatever you call it, it's an expensive habit. If you're looking for a "fix" to make you feel better, try jotting down a list of 10 things you're grateful for instead of hitting the mall.
Being grateful increases energy and motivation to exercise
Two of the biggest roadblocks on the path to losing weight are emotional eating and lack of exercise. People who express gratitude, even if only mentally or through gratitude journaling, have more energy and are more motivated to make healthy food choices. Often, losing weight depends more on what happens between your ears than between your lips.
Being grateful fosters the optimism to help set and achieve goals
Grateful people see the possibilities in situations rather than the setbacks. People who can see a path forward are more likely to set foot on that path. Before making your "to-do" list, take a few minutes and jot down a "got-done" list — and see your mood improve.
Expressing gratitude improves relationships with others
Empathy and gratitude are interconnected, and empathy is the foundation for greater understanding. Understanding another person's point of view — even if you don't agree with him or her — builds relationships. Recognizing other people's contributions to our well-being rewards both them and us. Send a text of appreciation or post an affirmation through social media. Write a thank you note and mail it (this little gesture has become rare enough that it really stands out).
Feeling gratitude increases faith
Faith gives us the motivation to keep trying — to walk into the unknown with calmness rather than apprehension. People who feel gratitude recognize there are forces outside of themselves at play and that those forces — whether God, family, friends or other influences — have been good to them in the past. Realizing that good things have happened in the past gives us faith that things will be OK in the future.
Expressing gratitude makes us healthier and decreases stress
According to WebMD, 75-90 percent of all doctor visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints. Expressing gratitude facilitates calm reflection. Whether done through meditation, walking, running, watching a sunset or feeling the wind on your face, gratitude will decrease stress in your life and increase feelings of hopefulness.
The benefits of gratitude don't end here. In fact, this is just a sampling of how being grateful will improve your life. Try a few of these techniques, and you will find that you have even more to be grateful for.