Author Melody Beattie delivers the quintessential quote for the giving season: Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.
We’re giving thanks for gratitude and for the research that supports it. Learn five benefits gratitude can give back to you!
1. Improved health. Grateful people will have 10 percent fewer stress-related illnesses, be more physically fit and have blood pressure that is lower by 12 percent. Overall positive emotions can add up to seven years to your life, according to the John Templeton Foundation, which funds gratitude research studies worldwide.
2. New opportunities. Giving thanks goes beyond politeness. Showing appreciation can help win new friends, according to a 2014 study published in Emotion, the journal of the American Psychological Association. The research found that thanking a new acquaintance — whether it’s saying “thank you” or sending a note — makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship.
3. Better sleep. Writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep, according to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. Spend 15 minutes jotting grateful sentiments before bed, and you might sleep better and longer.
4. More money. Grateful people’s income is roughly 7 percent higher, according to the John Templeton Foundation.
5. Greater happiness. Gratitude reduces negative emotions such as envy, resentment, frustration and regret. Robert Emmons, a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being that confirm being grateful reduces depression and increases happiness.