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The Health Benefits of Gratitude

A woman showing gratitude for nature as she is standing with her hands in the air, after throwing leaves in the air with a smile on her face.November brings the beginning of the holiday season, a perfect time to reflect on what we are thankful for and to show appreciation to those who have made a difference in our lives. Did you know that expressing gratitude can also provide numerous health benefits? In fact, it may be one of the simplest things we can do every day to make a positive impact on our lives.

Gratitude …

  • May open the door to future friendships
    Saying “thank you” not only displays good manners, but studies have shown that thanking a new acquaintance may make them more likely to seek an ongoing friendship moving forward.
  • Improves physical health
    Grateful people tend to experience fewer aches and pains and report feeling healthier overall. In addition, they are more likely to exercise and attend routine medical check-ups.
  • Improves mental health
    It reduces a variety of negative emotions such as envy, frustration and regret while increasing happiness and reducing depression.
  • Enhances empathy and reduces anger
    According to studies, grateful people experienced more sensitivity and empathy toward others with an increased desire to express forgiveness.
  • Increases self-esteem
    Expressing gratitude tends to reduce social comparisons and allows us to appreciate the accomplishments of others.
  • Can improve sleep when using a gratitude journal
    Try spending 15 minutes writing down grateful sentiments before bed, and you may get a more restful night of sleep.

Looking for ways to make gratitude a part of your daily routine? Try a few of these ideas:

  • Keep a daily gratitude journal
  • Tell someone how much you appreciate them
  • Notice the beauty in nature
  • Smile more
  • Perform one daily act of kindness
  • Compliment friends and family members
  • Send a card to someone you haven’t seen or talked to in a while
  • Meditate
  • Embrace challenges by using them as an opportunity to learn and grow

About the Author

Sherry Stick is the fitness and aquatics coordinator at Carroll Lutheran Village and has been working for CLV for nearly 20 years.