Gratitude Month: 10 Ways Showing Thanks Can Help You Feel Amazing
November is gratitude month, but practicing gratitude is a healthy habit to cultivate year-round. Giving thanks and taking steps to be actively grateful has significant benefits for both mental and physical health. Practicing gratitude can help you:
1. Feel better about your life. Focusing on the positive is scientifically proven to make you feel happier, more optimistic, and better about your life in general.
2. Manage depression and anxiety. Healthy individuals get a boost in happiness from practicing gratitude. Research shows that those with mental illness, particularly depression and anxiety, also see benefits from this practice. In one study, students seeking counseling were asked to write a thank you letter weekly. By the end of the experiment, they experienced significant improvements in their mental health compared to those instructed to reflect on negative experiences.
3. Improve cardiovascular health. Studies of optimism, positive thinking, and gratitude show that these traits improve heart health. People who practice gratitude have a much lower risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke.
4. Boost immunity. Gratitude also improves physical health through the immune system. A positive, thankful outlook can help your body fight infections better.
5. Improve your relationships. Studies of relationships have found that when partners express gratitude for each other, they strengthen their bond. They feel more satisfied with each other and happier in their relationship.
6. Build new relationships. A simple expression of thanks to acquaintances and new people in your life can help you make friends. People are more likely to develop new friendships with people who express thanks and gratitude.
7. Boost self-esteem. Self-esteem is essential for good mental health, and gratitude can improve it. Studies show that gratitude correlates with higher self-esteem and overall well-being. A reason for this may be that focusing on gratitude reduces social comparison and resentfulness toward others.
8. Lower stress. Stress is never completely avoidable, but gratitude can help you cope with it. Practicing gratitude reduces stress hormones in the body and helps you feel more relaxed.
9. Be more empathetic. Actively grateful people are better able to connect and empathize with others. This makes them more compassionate and less likely to be aggressive or retaliatory.
10. Sleep better. Studies show that people who score high on psychological tests for gratitude sleep longer and experience better sleep quality. Researchers believe that expressing gratitude before going to sleep is particularly helpful.
How to Practice Gratitude for Wellness
Getting the benefits of gratitude requires more than simply giving thanks at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Cultivate a regular practice to get the most out of gratitude. Journaling daily is an easy way to do this. List what you’re thankful for each night before bed, and you’ll sleep better too.
Another great tool is meditation. Regular meditation is good for your mental health and sleep, so you get even more benefits when combining it with gratitude. Try BetterSleep guided gratitude meditations to get started:
- Gratitude for Stressful Times
- 5 Nights of Gratitude
- Gratitude for Better Sleep
- Gratitude Every Night
- Gratitude Booster
Start practicing gratitude daily for the best results. With meditation and regular thankfulness, you’ll enjoy better mental health, improved overall wellness, and a better night’s sleep.
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