What are the Benefits of Gratitude?
Throughout the month of November, we have focused heavily on the topic of gratitude. While you may be tired of hearing about it, gratitude is something that I strongly believe in. Showing your gratitude can be a great way to spread positive feelings in the world around you. When you think about it, reaching your goals starts with a single positive thought.
How do you feel when someone sincerely expresses his or her gratitude to you for something you did? Doesn't it make you feel good about yourself? These positive feelings can lift you up, boost your enthusiasm, and motivate you to achieve even more.
Feeling grateful for what you have can produce the same good feelings and sustain your drive toward your goals.
This shows how gratitude can have some seriously positive snowball effects.
Here are some of the benefits of gratitude:
- Reaching your goals. When you feel grateful, it tends to be a lasting and selfless feeling. It's much more than just a momentary burst of positive energy; it has staying power that will provide a great boost for you to reach your goals.
- When you express your gratitude to others, ensure that you're open and expressive. People don't know what you're thinking; hearing it can make all the difference. I recently had someone at work tell me how much they appreciated working with me and the perspective that I bring to solving problems. It was actually quite surprising because I never thought much about them coming to ask me questions. Honestly, I just thought it was because, out of everyone in my department, my desk is the closest to theirs. How many times have people expressed gratitude for something you have done but you didn’t think it was a big deal?
- Strengthened relationships. There are many ways you can express your gratitude to your loved ones, including saying, "Thank you," writing a letter, or giving them a thoughtful gift. When you learn to avoid taking your loved ones for granted, you'll have a long-lasting and loving relationship.
- Showing gratitude is a two-way street. Learn how to effectively express your gratitude and, just as importantly, to receive it as well. There are several ways this can be done but my suggestion is to do it using their love language if you know it. This will give them the feeling of being appreciated as well as being understood.
- Improved communication. Gratitude can mean better communication all around. By expressing your gratitude to others, they'll be more likely to show an interest in helping you, too. This is effective with people you know as well as strangers. When you express gratitude to someone, it makes them feel appreciated which in turn makes them more likely to do more for you and others. One act of gratitude can have a snowball effect that you might not be able to imagine. It might even be the one thing that someone needs to brighten their day.
- Gratitude is such a powerful entity that it can even help you communicate with your pets! They should be appreciated too.
- More effective constructive criticism. No matter how we express constructive criticism, it often makes the recipient defensive or even angry. No one likes a blow to the ego. In this situation, a grateful attitude can take you a long way. You can express criticism quite effectively when you also emphasize what you appreciate about them. Emphasis on the things they are doing well will help build their confidence in their skills. And as they improve in the areas you offer constructive criticism, you should express your gratitude for them listening to you and making improvements. This will go along way to helping them accept constructive criticism in the future and teaching an effective way to give constructive criticism when they are in a position to do so.
- Preserving memories. You can preserve memories in a positive way when you keep a gratitude journal. You'll be able to enjoy your memories again and again when you read about these happy times in the future. This is one thing that I really believe can make a difference when you are having a rough day. This not only applies to your gratitude journal, it can also apply to text messages that made you smile or photos of happier times. Just get yourself into the mind frame of remembering to feel happy and grateful. Being grateful for those times can be just the trigger you need to start a new list of things that you are grateful for. Which will then give you something new to reflect on the next time you are feeling down.
Show Your Gratitude Every Day
Showing gratitude to others may seem like a selfless act, but it's something that you also benefit from.
When you show your gratitude every day, you change the way you think.
You'll appreciate your good life when the majority of your thoughts remain positive. Negative thoughts can sometimes be overwhelming, and just because you have them doesn't mean you're a bad person. They happen to everyone, but you can strive to keep them to a minimum with the help of a grateful attitude.
One way to show your gratitude every day is to remind yourself of the big picture when a negative thought arises. If a petty argument with your spouse makes you feel angry and heated, take a deep breath and think for a moment. Remember that the argument is not permanent and, instead, feel grateful for the gift of this relationship. Remember the good things that they do for you and your family. Think of the times they have made you smile.
If you are interested in starting a gratitude practice and don’t yet have a gratitude journal, you can download my FREE Gratitude Worksheet here.
Our days on this earth are numbered so we must cherish the time that we do have and enjoy the benefits of living each day as if it were our last.