It’s no secret that we should take time to reflect, feel and express gratitude… but you actually do it as often as you think you do?
A couple years ago I decided to keep track of how often I expressed gratitude (inwardly or outwardly) every day for a month. Embarrassingly, I discovered that I had not been as grateful as I liked to think I was.
Don’t get me wrong – I was genuinely thankful for my many blessings in life. Yet, a surprising number of days passed where I never took a moment to purposely reflect in gratitude, or express it to others in a meaningful way.
That’s when I started the Daily Gratitude Challenge, to reflect at the end of each day and list 3 things I am grateful for that are unique to that day. In other words, I can never list the same thing twice. After all, every day brings its own gifts, even if some are harder to recognize than others.
Through this “Gratitude Challenge” I discovered that:
- Cultivating a gratitude practice has profound difference on how you feel.
- Gratitude is a muscle that you must flex in order to reap the benefits.
And those benefits are even broader than you might realize.
Here are 6 scientifically proven benefits of maintaining a gratitude practice:
Improvement in Relationships:
Who doesn’t like to hear that they are valued? Appreciating and acknowledging the people in your life can go a long way in both personal and professional relationships.
Promotes Physical Health:
Grateful people take better care of their health and are more likely to exercise, which contributes to their overall longevity. According to one study, people who maintain gratitude practice also report having less aches and pains.
Improves Psychological Health:
When you are no longer focusing on the toxic emotions- stress, resentment, frustration- and rather focus on the positive in your life, your perception on life begins to change. In other words, what you focus on multiplies. By doing this, people have found a reduction in their depression and an increase in their happiness. Not bad side effects, eh?
Gratitude is closely related to empathy, lending itself to the experience of sensitivity and a desire to understand others. When relating to others, grateful people tend to be more kind and approach social situations with more empathy. As a leader, this also helps you to cultivate loyalty and improve results in working with your team.
Encourages Self Esteem:
Studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons. When you begin to celebrate your own wins in life, you are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments as well. Comparing yourself or your successes to others and seeing yourself as inferior, will go out the window.
Increased Mental Strength:
Gratitude not only reduces stress, but also plays a pivotal role in building resilience. Studies have shown that recognizing all you have to be thankful for majorly contributes to having the mental fortitude to bounce back after hardships.