Gratitude is often on our minds during the holiday season. But this year calls for even more of an emphasis on gratitude than ever before. For many, financial insecurity, not seeing loved ones, and a grueling year in general can leave little room for taking stock and feeling grateful.
But gratitude can have a transformative impact on your life and outlook.
Being grateful can be as simple as taking a moment to reflect on what you have, making a gratitude list in the morning, or telling someone how much you appreciate him or her.
Being grateful can have scientifically proven benefits to your life, too.
Gratitude can expand and enhance your relationships
Telling someone you appreciate them or sending a thank you note not only makes someone feel good, it can enhance your relationship as a whole. A 2014 study in Emotion “found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship.”
Gratitude helps physical health
A 2012 study from Personality and Individual Differences found that grateful people report feeling healthier than others and feel fewer aches and pains. In general, grateful people tend to take better care of their health by exercising more and getting regular checkups.
Gratitude helps emotional health
A leading gratitude researcher, Robert Emmons, has shown a link between gratitude and well being through many studies. Gratitude can help in the reduction of destructive emotions like envy, resentment, frustration and regret. He also found that gratitude increases happiness and reduces depression.
Gratitude makes us more empathetic and less aggressive
A 2012 study found that when you’re grateful you’ll feel less vengeful toward others—even when they give you negative feedback. Additionally, participants who ranked higher on gratitude scales were more sensitive and showed more empathy toward others.
Gratitude Improves Sleep
If you struggle to sleep at night, consider keeping a gratitude journal. A 2011 study found that those who spend time writing down things they’re grateful for before going to bed sleep better and longer.
Gratitude enhances our self-esteem, and ultimately, our performance
A 2014 study found that gratitude helped athletes’ self-esteem which is a key component in optimizing your performance.
Gratitude increases our mental toughness
Gratitude has even played a role for trauma survivors. A 2006 study found that Vietnam War veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of trauma. And a 2003 study found that gratitude helped in fostering resilience following the terrorist attacks after 9/11.
The holidays can be a stressful time of year, but taking time out to be grateful (for the big and little things) can have a major effect on your physical and emotional well-being.
Source: Psychology Today
Dr. Sonja Stilp is a physician and founder of RISE practicing in Boulder, CO. She provides personalized care and global healing for the athlete in all of us. Dr. Stilp is very GRATEFUL for the opportunity to help you become the best version of self. Make an appointment with her to talk about your health and performance today.