The importance of gratitude is taught to children by parents from a very young age, and usually emerges in children from ages seven to 10. Since time immemorial, phrases like “say please and thank you” have been ingrained in the upbringing of kids around the world.
However, it can be easy to take these phrases for granted. When saying “thank you” becomes an empty platitude, it loses its essential meaning. That’s because gratitude is about so much more than simply saying thank you; gratitude is a way of approaching life and relationships, and it can benefit you in so many ways you’ve never imagined.
Gratitude Will Make You Happier
Studies have shown that a simple five-minute gratitude exercise in a journal can increase a person’s happiness by as much as 10% (how the researchers quantified happiness, we can’t say). What we can say is that just writing down one thing you’re grateful for everyday will improve your mood, your outlook, and the way you interact with friends and coworkers.
Gratitude lessons are often those learned when reflecting on what you’re thankful for and how it has affected your everyday life, in ways both large and small. When you take the time to consider the things and people that have brought you to where you are now, you can become your own gratitude coach.
Too often, we take the people and blessings in our life for granted. Practicing active gratitude will help you more fully appreciate the good things in your life, even when you’re feeling terrible.
Gratitude Will Improve Anxiety
Approximately 60% of people with anxiety experienced improvements in their condition after six to nine months of daily meditation sessions. In the same way, gratitude exercises allow individuals to sit down, slow down, and truly think about their lives and what has brought them to where they are. This time is incredibly important, as it can improve happiness and help quell anxiety.
Gratitude Helps You Sleep At Night
A 2011 study found that keeping a gratitude journal helped participants sleep deeper and longer. A simple 15 minutes of writing in a gratitude journal can contribute to a sense of inner peace and help ease a troubled mind with happy thoughts.
Gratitude Can Strengthen Your Memory
Keeping a gratitude journal is just as much a memory exercise as it is a happiness exercise. Reflecting on events during the day and throughout your life that you’re grateful for will help improve your brain’s memory functions. By focusing on thankfulness and happiness, your mind will be more likely to retain these pleasant memories.
In truth, gratitude lessons can be self taught and extremely beneficial to you. Be your own happiness coach and gratitude teacher! If you need help along the way, experts are there to guide you in the right direction. Why not start your very own gratitude journal today? And by today, we mean right now. Grab a pen and paper or open a document on your computer, then simply list five things, memories, places, or people that you feel thankful for right now.
Matt O’Grady is the author of the book Living Gratitude. If you’re looking for a Business, Success, and Happiness Coach, contact Matt and start improving your mood, your relationships, and your life!