Why you Might Want to Practice Gratitude

April 15, 2017

 

I’m big on manners. It’s a huge pet peeve of mine when people don’t say their please and thank you's.

 

Saying thank you to anyone and everyone is so important, not only for manners-sake, but for your overall well-being. Say whaaa?

 

It’s time to talk gratitude.

 

This may seem very “new age” and hippy dippy, but there is science behind why and how the art of gratitude can make you a happier person.

 

“NIH (National Institute of Health) researchers examined blood flow in various brain regions while subjects summoned up feelings of gratitude (Zahn et al, 2009). They found that subjects who showed more gratitude overall had higher levels of activity in the hypothalamus. This is important because the hypothalamus controls a huge array of essential bodily functions, including eating, drinking and sleeping. It also has a huge influence on your metabolism and stress levels.” (1)

Physiological Benefits of Practicing Gratitude

These include a range of gratitude practices, from journaling each day to minor, manner-like acts of gratitude, like saying 'thank you' to someone that held the door open for you.

  • Improves sleep (2)

  • Lowers blood pressure

  • Increases your productivity

  • Lessens feeling of negative emotions like fear and jealousy 

  • Strengthen the workplace - showing gratitude towards your employees or coworkers, by thanking them for their contribution, or just showing appreciation for their presence alone, can reduce turnover intention, improve productivtiy and help eliminate toxic workplace emotions (3)

  • Increases the trust and contentment of employees with their superiors (4)

  • Increase happiness, and positive emotions over all. 

  • Increases metabolism even!

  • Gratitude increases your mental resilience to stress, and makes you less vulnerable to prolonged, every day stressors.

  • There are several studies showing that individuals who practice gratitude recover more quickly from trauma. 

 

So how do you practice gratitude?

 

These are just some of the many, many ways . . . 

 

  • Every night, physically write down 3 things you were grateful for that day. It doesn’t have to be HUGE (and I think that’s where people get caught up in this). It can be simple as a good memory that passed through your consciousness that day, or that you got to work safely.

  • If that’s too much, set aside one day a week to sit down for 5 minutes and write down without stopping everything you are happy for.

  • Say thank you more often.

  • When you find yourself in a bad situation ask yourself “what can I learn?” If you start doing this often enough, it’ll become a pattern, and the way you respond to bad situations and stress will change. 

  • Sound genuinely happy to hear from people who call you on the phone. Regardless of how they respond, they will feel valued. 

  • Practice gratitude before each meal. This doesn’t have to take long. This isn’t grace necessarily, but just taking a moment to yourself before you eat.  Something like ‘thank you for this meal I’m about to eat, may it provide me with nourishment and strength.’  The BONUS of doing this is that it will actually improve your digestion and subsequently allow you to absorb more of the nutrients from the meal.

 

Remember, it’s the little things. So when you show gratitude in any form the first couple times, give yourself a pat on the back!  You’ve just done something that not only will make you better, but will make the world a little better place to live. 

 

NEVER underestimate the little things. EVER. 

 

You're wonderful. 

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