We’ve all heard the age-old adage of “count your blessings”, and there is a general understanding that it’s a good thing to be grateful for what you have. Recently, however, a study at Harvard has proven there might be some deeper evidence behind why expressing thanks is beneficial for our happiness beyond just the anecdotal evidence.
Two psychologists from America’s top universities, Dr. Robert A. Emmons and Dr. Michael E. McCullough, conducted a study asking participants to write about different things. One group wrote what they were grateful for each week, the second wrote about things that had annoyed them throughout the week, while the third wrote about events that had occurred. “After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives,” according to Harvard Health. “Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.”
This is just one example, but there have been many other studies conducted that point to the same results: There is a tangible effect of practising gratitude, and those who do are better off. In addition to benefiting your own personal wellbeing, practising gratefulness has also been shown to have a positive effect on the relationship as a whole, going so far as to make communication between partners easier.
While gratitude comes naturally to some people, others need to take the time out of their day to cultivate it. The good news, however, is that the more you practice feeling grateful, the more natural it becomes. Better yet, the feedback is a positive loop, so by feeling grateful for more things, your sense of gratitude only continues to grow until the smallest things can be cause for gratitude. To get you started, we’ve listed a few easy ways to incorporate gratitude into your everyday routine, once you begin to see your outlook on life change, the few minutes spent will be worth it ten-fold.
Ways To Practise Gratitude
— Keep a gratitude journal: At the end of every day, take a few spare minutes to write a list of things that you are grateful for that day. It could be as simple as having a roof over your head, as long as you find something to be grateful for. The more you do it, the easier it will become, and soon five minutes won’t seem like enough time to write down everything you felt grateful that day.
— Write “Thank You” Cards: Write thank you cards for the people in your life. Whether you’re thanking someone for a birthday gift or for being a good friend, cards like this are a great way to express gratefulness for the people in your life.
— Spend More Time in Nature: When you’re surrounded by the beauty of nature, it’s hard not to feel grateful for the little things. From the beauty of a flower growing on a tree to the consistency of the waves in the ocean, nature is full of small wonders that give us reason to pause and be thankful.