Why be grateful?
Did you know gratitude has shown to reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, improve sleep, and improve overall life satisfaction?
Below you’ll find two studies that show how gratitude is more impactful on your health than almost any supplement.
But beyond heath considerations, gratitude acts as a buoy, or life vest, in an increasingly turbulent ocean of negativity and cynicism that tries to pull us under. Gratitude, when practiced, keeps us afloat and allows us to rise above all of that.
So, in addition to the two studies, you’ll also find below 7 ways (and one grandaddy of them all) that you can practice gratitude in your life and “stay afloat.”
A 2003 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology divided a group of people into three groups:
- One kept a weekly journal of hassles in life
- One kept a kept a journal of random events
- One kept a journal of things they were grateful for
After nine weeks, the gratitude group showed significantly higher life satisfaction along with decreased physical symptoms of discomfort in life. In other words, those who were grateful were both mentally and physically healthier than the other two groups.
In a 2015 study published by the American Psychological Association, clinicians looked at the impact of gratitude on a person’s physical and mental health. They found gratitude to be associated with the following (verbatim from the study):
- Better sleep
- Less depressed mood
- Less fatigue
- Better self-efficacy to maintain cardiac function
- Lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers
The study recommended “efforts to increase gratitude” as having “potential clinical value” and as “treatment for improving well-being.”
Leadership and Gratitude
Gratitude also has a role in leadership. Actions, not titles, make great leaders. Some of the greatest “actions” of a good leader are expressing gratitude, teaching gratitude, and creating a grateful culture. A 2013 Harvard Business Review articles states: “Research on gratitude and appreciation demonstrates that when employees feel valued, they have high job satisfaction, are willing to work longer hours, engage in productive relationships with co-workers and supervisors, are motivated to do their best, and work towards achieving the company’s goals.” Grateful leaders naturally bring out the BEST in their people.
7 Ways to Practice Gratitude
There are many ways to develop an attitude of gratitude and express gratitude. Below are seven effective methods, and you may think of others:
- Say “Thank You” outloud and often
- Keep a Gratitude Journal
- Write a note or letter of appreciation
- Count your blessings (write them out)
- Use grateful quotes and affirmations
- Develop gratitude for hardships & challenges
- Plan for gratitude
PLAN for Gratitude
How do you plan for gratitude? When you do your pre-week planning this week, consider a way – this week – to express and convey gratitude in each role. Here’s an example of what this might look like:
- Personal – Start my daily gratitude journal & meditate 3x this week
- Professional – Give my team $30 “get a turkey” gift cards and a thank you note
- Partner – Give my significant other a long hug and thank him for supporting me
- Parent – Call Shawna at University and express “appreciation” for her hard work
- Family – Call and thank my mom for all of her sacrifices growing up
- Coach – Send a “thank you” email to the parents for all they do
Wow! If this person only did 5 of these 7 actions, consider the small but profound impact in one week! Those around her would feel lifted, cared for and inspired, and she would be a better person for it. That’s leadership. That’s becoming your best.
So, during this week of giving thanks, we invite you to include gratitude in your pre-week planning.
And, we THANK YOU, for your loyalty and for being a part of the Becoming Your Best family!
“Gratitude can transform any situation. It alters your vibration, moving you from negative energy to positive. It’s the quickest, easiest, most powerful way to effect change in your life – this I know for sure.” – Oprah Winfrey
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