Why Practicing Gratitude is So Important in Our Everyday Lives
One of my favorite happiness habits that I practice on a daily basis is gratitude. This simple but powerful character strength not only makes you happy, but more importantly, gratitude can add happiness to the lives of others as well.
Gratitude is more than just saying thank you. Rather, it’s a mindset of being grateful for everything you have in your life. It’s telling yourself, that you are enough and it’s showing others how much you appreciate their presence. The great thing about this mindset is that when practiced regularly, it trains your brain to look for the good in life. It’s also most associated with life satisfaction and happiness, so there’s a good chance the more to show gratitude in your life, the happier you will be.
The Science Behind Gratitude
It’s not just me saying this, there is real science that shows the impact gratitude can have on our well-being. Research shows that highly grateful people have more positive outcomes in their lives related to their family, friends, jobs and wellness. They experience positive emotions more often and have less anxiety, depression and envy. Science has shown that grateful people score higher in areas related to prosocial behavior, empathy, forgiveness, helpfulness, supportiveness and are less worried about materialism.
According to The Mayo Clinic Handbook for Happiness, gratitude is good for your physical health and increases your happiness by 25%. Positive psychologists have found that when practicing gratitude interventions for an extended amount of time, it can improve your mood for weeks and even months. Leading gratitude researcher Robert Emmons, Ph.D., discovered that people who show gratitude in the workplace experience a boost in productivity and by more than 30%.
How to Practice Gratitude
The easiest way to get into a mindset of gratitude is by keeping a gratitude journal. Keep it beside your bed and before you go bed each night, write down three things you are grateful for and why. It may be a challenge at first, but soon you’ll find it easier to find more meaningful things to be grateful for. A deeply impactful way to increase your gratitude is by writing a gratitude letter to someone in your life who has made a positive impact that you haven’t properly thanked. You can send that person the letter, but you really want to get the full effect of the practice, read that letter out loud to that person. You’ll both be glad that you did.
The Power of Gratitude
I am grateful for my family, my health and job. I know I am blessed. That’s easy. What takes work is finding a reason to be grateful every single day even in the face of adversity. I feel equipped to tackle anything because of my gratitude. If I run into a bad situation, I tell myself that I am grateful for the experience, I am still here and it could have been worse. What’s more, I always reflect and find a way I have grown from that experience.
When practiced every day, the power of gratitude can make you a happier and better person. In a time of so much uncertainty, it’s nice to have the tools to improve yourself as well as improving the lives of others. If you don’t practice gratitude, I highly suggest you start. If you could take a pill for happiness, wouldn’t you take it? Consider this your happy pill.
Deborah K. Heisz is Co-Chief Executive Officer of Neora. With more than 20 years of leadership experience in a variety of roles within the direct-selling industry, she has successfully built and led strong teams to achieve strategic goals. Deborah also maintains her role as Chief Executive Officer of Live Happy, LLC and is the co-founder and editorial director of the positive lifestyle magazine Live Happy and the Happiness Movement. A graduate of Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in English, Deborah also holds an MBA from The University of Dallas.