‘Be thankful for what you have’ is a common refrain we hear from elders all around us. While it is something we generally ignore, gratitude has some serious benefits for our mental health. We live in a world that is marked by its cutthroat competition and dog eat dog ethos. Feeling slighted or even victimized is incredibly easy. What is not easy is to feel thankful towards all that you have and all that you have learned.
The most common question that pops in an individual’s head when thinking about being thankful is, ‘what should I be thankful for?’ Gratitude is a magnificent technique to not only feel better about oneself but also to help you stay centred in the storm of professional or personal lives.
Here are some proven benefits of being grateful:
Makes You Healthier
A research by a University of California researcher, Robert Emmons, found that expressing gratitude can be instrumental in helping you stay fit. It is understandable at an emotional level that feeling thankful for your body and life will only inspire to conserve the gift that you have been granted. Emmons’ research has also shown that those who expressed gratitude more frequently are found to be working out more frequently than those who didn’t.
Good for Your Heart
Cardiovascular disease is one of the biggest killers of our generation. Research shows that people who practice gratitude often are also more socially and physically engaged. This has a direct effect on their heart’s health. Stress and negativity are almost as bad for your heart as cholesterol. Speaking of which, gratitude and thankfulness also goes a long way in curbing addictive behaviours like smoking, excessive drinking, or even binge eating, consequently helping your cholesterol levels stay in check.
Boosts Mental Wellness
Let’s face it, you can’t feel thankful without feeling happy. People who practice gratitude face lower instances of depression and can have a hugely positive impact on their mental well-being. A University of Kentucky study found that gratitude is a great way to increase empathy. It goes a long way in curbing aggressive and retaliatory behaviour making us more sensitive towards other people. Facing a lot of negative feedback at work? Well, find things that you can be grateful for, up your diligence at the office and see the difference it makes.
Helps Form Relationships
Nobody wants to be friends with a bitter, snide, and a perpetually envious individual. Being grateful is a question of manners as much as it is a matter of feeling good. A study found that expressing gratitude towards new connections can encourage them to pursue a longer relationship. It can be something as simple as sending a thank-you note to your colleague for their help or even expressing gratitude to the barista for that coffee you so wanted, expressing gratitude can go a long way in helping you cement relationships.
Makes you Mentally Strong
A 2006 study found that Vietnam war veterans who showed greater gratitude had lower rates of PTSD. It takes a great deal of strength and fortitude to remember all that you have to be thankful for when the going gets tough. It is important to understand that mental fortitude is not just about weathering the storm but also about being thankful for the bright sunny days that appear every now and then.