As we continue to talk about gratitude, it’s worth noting the rewards. Gratitude is unique in that expressing thanks is a selfless act, yet we gain so much from it. It serves the self to practice gratitude, yet it is not self-serving.
I like to think that this practice is almost spiritual – that what we really serve is the universe around us and the world we are a part of. By intentionally creating positive, rather than negative, energy, we can be producers of light and magic!
And the world needs that now. The news cycles continue to assault our sense of safety with strife and unrest. It can be hard to find our joy when there is so much suffering in the world, but gratitude helps us remain resilient.
It does a few other things as well by impacting our bodies, our home life, and our workplaces.
Gratitude and Your Health
The physical and mental health benefits of a regular gratitude practice are well-documented and backed by numerous research studies.
There is a documented correlation between gratitude and reduced symptoms of depression. A gratitude practice is also associated with reduced anxiety and can even help relieve stress. Pausing for a mindful moment of thankfulness can actually calm the nervous system so we can enter a relaxed state.
That relaxed state carries over into our physical wellness. Blood pressure goes down, and heart rate and breathing slow down. We start to sleep better, which gives us the energy to be active during the day.
And all of this supports heart health. Many studies point to a link between a grateful mindset and biomarkers associated with a person’s risk level for heart disease. People who report practicing gratitude regularly also report fewer aches and pains.
Good stuff! But wait, there’s more…
Gratitude and Your Family
Initiating a regular gratitude practice at home can impact the way everyone in the family handles stressful situations.
Children learn healthy habits from the ones you model. When you share positive reflections at the dinner table, as you say goodnight, or when you start your day, the energy in your home improves, and the spirits of every member will likely lift.
It’s also worth taking the time to express thankfulness to your partner for the ways in which they make your life better. When this practice is mutual, it leads to stronger relationships. Feelings and concerns are shared more freely, and more feelings about the relationship as a whole grow more positive.
In a similar vein, the friends who feel like family should hear how much they mean to you and why. Those relationships grow stronger through gratitude as well. And just like your health and your family life, gratitude is a giving circle. You’ll feel good for having given that gift, the recipient will also feel good, and that will magnify your pleasure. And the gift will likely be reciprocated, leading to even more good vibes!
Gratitude and the Workplace
Looking for a low-cost way to boost morale and increase productivity at the office? Gratitude is where it’s at!
This concept is picking up steam, especially since the pandemic and massive shows of support for the essential workers. We all work hard, and it means a lot when that work is recognized and appreciated.
You can create a positive loop in your office by practicing gratitude with your coworkers. It may be as simple as letting them know you appreciate their help or value statements about their unique skills and contributions.
Data points to several benefits of gratitude in the workplace, from increased engagement and higher productivity to better retention and improved customer service. It can also help build trust between colleagues and make teams more effective at collaborating.
I am just one person, as are you, but we can each make a big difference for ourselves and for others. By taking time each day to count our blessings and appreciate the people who make us feel safe, the things that give us joy, and the ideas that propel us forward, we radiate positive energy. And that positive energy is EVERYTHING!