The health benefits of expressing gratitude are many, and some are even can surprise you.
The scientifically-validated benefits of gratitude are better understood. Through the work of leading researchers like R. Emmons and M.Seligman, we know that this virtue is more than just saying, “thank you.” it goes beyond
Gratitude journaling can increase one’s happiness. Others show that inflammation in one’s body can decrease. Each study offers insights into how a person can improve their overall health and well-being
What are the Benefits of Gratitude?
For the individual:
- increased happiness and positive mood
- more satisfaction with life
- less materialistic
- less likely to experience burnout
- better physical health
- better sleep
- less fatigue
- lower levels of cellular inflammation
- greater resiliency
- encourages the development of patience, humility, and wisdom
- increases prosocial behaviors
- strengthens relationships
- may help employees’ effectiveness
- may increase job satisfaction
Research by Mishra (2011) explored many of the above benefits in “Why gratitude enhances well-being: What we know, what we need to know.” They concluded that there is “considerable evidence that gratitude builds social resources by strengthening relationships and promoting prosocial actions.”
Showing gratitude is not merely saying, “thank you.”
- Gratitude disconnects us from toxic, negative emotions and the ruminating that often accompanies them. Writing a letter “shifts our attention” so that our focus is on positive emotions.
- Expressing gratitude helps us even if we don’t explicitly share it with someone. We’re happier and more satisfied with life because we completed the exercise.
- The positive effects of gratitude writing compound like interest. You might not notice the benefit of a daily or weekly practice, but after several weeks and months, you will.
- A gratitude practice trains the brain to be more in tune with experiencing gratitude — a positive plus a positive, equal more positives.
There is a positive relationship between kind, helpful behavior, and feeling grateful.
- Gratitude facilitates helping behavior,
- Grateful people help the people who helped them (benefactors) and strangers similarly, and
- Reminding people who helped them (a benefactor) still increased helping behavior exhibited toward strangers. The reciprocity norm wasn’t a factor.
Gratitude allows a person to:
- celebrate the present
- block toxic emotions (envy, resentment, regret, depression)
- be more stress-resilient, and
- strengthen social ties and self-worth.
The Effects Gratitude Has on Health
According to Julie Ray (2019) of the Gallup Organization, “The world took a negative turn in 2017, with global levels of stress, worry, sadness and pain hitting new highs.” How can this trend change for the better? Research demonst