Gratitude is the act of being thankful and appreciative of the good things in life. It is a powerful emotion that can have a positive impact on mental health and overall wellbeing. Research has shown practising gratitude regularly can lead to improved mood, increased happiness, better sleep, and reduced stress levels. In this post, we will explore the benefits of gratitude and how you can incorporate it into your daily life.
One of the main benefits of practising gratitude is an improved mood. When we focus on the positive things in our life and express gratitude for them, we shift our focus away from negative thoughts and emotions. This can lead to an increase in positive emotions and a decrease in negative ones, such as anxiety and depression.
Studies have shown gratitude interventions, such as writing gratitude letters or keeping a gratitude journal, can significantly improve mood and increase happiness levels in individuals (1). Practising gratitude also helps us to focus on the present moment and appreciate what we have, rather than always striving for more and feeling unfulfilled.
Practising gratitude can also improve the quality of our sleep. When we are thankful for the positive things in our life, we are less likely to ruminate on negative thoughts and experiences that can keep us awake at night. A study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being found writing in a gratitude journal for 15 minutes before bed each night improved the quality of participants' sleep (2).
Gratitude can also help to reduce stress levels. When we are thankful for what we have, we are less likely to feel stressed about what we lack. Practising gratitude can also help us to see challenging situations in a more positive light, which can reduce the impact of stress on our mental and physical health.
Finally, practising gratitude can increase our resilience to life's challenges. When we are grateful for the positive things in our life, we are better equipped to handle adversity and cope with difficult situations. Research has shown gratitude can help individuals to develop a more positive outlook on life, which can improve their overall well-being (3).
Incorporating Gratitude into Your Daily Life
Now that we have explored the benefits of gratitude, you may be wondering how to incorporate it into your daily life. Here are some simple ways to practise gratitude:
Keep a Gratitude Journal: Take a few minutes each day to write down three things you are grateful for. This can help to shift your focus towards the positive things in your life.
Express Gratitude to Others: Take the time to express gratitude to the people in your life who have made a positive impact on you. This could be through a thank-you note, a text message, or a phone call.
Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness is the practice of being present and aware of your thoughts and emotions. When you practise mindfulness, you can focus on the positive things in your life and express gratitude for them.
Focus on the Present Moment: Instead of worrying about the past or future, focus on the present moment and appreciate what you have right now.
Benefits of Gratitude
Practising gratitude can have a significant positive impact on our mental health and overall wellbeing. By incorporating gratitude into our daily lives, we can improve our mood, sleep better, reduce stress, and increase our resilience to life's challenges.
Take a few minutes each day to express gratitude for the positive things in your life and see how it can improve your overall wellbeing.
Wood, A. M., Froh, J. J., & Geraghty, A. W. A. (2010). Gratitude and well-being: A review and theoretical integration. Clinical Psychology Review, 30(7), 890-905.
Jackowska, M., Brown, J., Ronaldson, A., & Steptoe, A. (2016). The impact of a brief gratitude intervention on subjective well-being, biology and sleep. Journal of Health Psychology, 21(10), 2207-2217.
Emmons, R. A., & Mishra, A. (2011). Why gratitude enhances well-being: What we know, what we need to know. Designing Positive Psychology: Taking Stock and Moving Forward, 248-262.