Gratitude and Happiness are Connected! Gratitude and Mental and Physical Health are Connected! Gratitude and Friendship are Connected!
Did you know gratitude and resilience are connected? Did you know gratitude and lessening depression and anxiety are connected?
In these times it may seem challenging to consider the things in life that we are grateful for. Or it may even seem the opposite of what needs to be done. However, practicing gratitude with others, and for and within ourselves has significant positive effects upon us, our relationships with others, and many benefits for our physical body, mind, emotions, and spirit! Expressing gratitude contains words and emotions, mental processes of thought, memory, consideration, noticing, and expressing and revealing appreciation, as well as receiving, witnessing, and responding to interpersonal gratitude.
Gratitude means, when we take the time to notice what we are grateful for it changes our energy and focus, shifts from complaining and negativity to positive states. In the Gratitude Meditation you will gain two profound and easy-to-do processes to use with yourself, and to share with others as a practice. I know from experience with working with groups and individuals, saying out loud with and to others what we are grateful for changes us in a very profound way. This is because we are also a witness to someone else expressing gratitude, which benefits that person as well as yourself. Even if you don’t consider yourself empathic, being in the presence of others sharing gratitude affects us. And by the way, noticing and using gratitude does not mean you are disengaging from the world, that you think everything is unicorns and flowers, that you don’t have boundaries, or you aren’t aware of what you can do to contribute to making changes.
So what is gratitude?
Gratitude are words but also a feeling. The feelings connected with gratitude are thankfulness, appreciation, warmth, consideration, and generosity. These feelings are associated with the heart, opening of the heart and connection, willingness and kindness which can be towards nature, the environment and Earth, living creatures, structures, other people who are living or who are known, and ourselves. This is likely why the research shows when people are grateful there is a lowering of blood pressure and improvement in heart functioning.
Are there benefits of practicing gratitude that have been researched?
Yes, there is a very long list of benefits! The following list touches just about every aspect of our lives from social support, how we feel about ourselves and others, healing, romantic relationships, work relationships, and more. Check out the list that highlights the different ways using gratitude positively changes our body, mind, emotions, and spirit! All backed by research which you can get at 3Melete.com on the Resource page.
Practicing Gratitude does the following
1. Creates Positive Emotions and Outlook. Practicing gratitude (based on research) facilitates positive emotions and creates a positive outlook. Having a positive outlook gives us the ability to navigate through the up’s and down’s through life. (Amin, Khalid & Ashraf, Khan) and (Lashani , Shaeiri M R, Asghari-Moghadam M A, & Golzari M) and (Seligman ME, Steen TA, Park N, & Peterson C).
- Develops Resilience. Drawing upon gratitude practices develops resilience which is a key characteristic for getting through difficulties. Resilience is an important characteristic of inner strength, the ability to navigate challenges, and reach out for support. (Amin, Khalid, Ashraf, Khan) and (Wood, A. M., Maltby, J., Gillett, R., Linley, P. A., & Joseph, S).
- Lessening of Depression, Suicidal Thoughts and Stress. Research conducted with different groups of people in various countries and ages proves practicing gratitude has a positive influence of lessening depression, suicidal thoughts, and stress. (Krysinska, K., Lester, D., Lyke, J., & Corveleyn, J.) and (Chih-Che Lin) and (Wood, A. M., Maltby, J., Gillett, R., Linley, P. A., & Joseph, S.) .
- Improvement of Relationships. In relationships sharing gratitude towards another person improves the relationship and contributes to long-lasting connection. In addition, gratitude sharing improves our view of the relationship as well as improving navigating difficulties in a relationship and sustaining the relationship. (Algoe SB, Fredrickson BL, & Gable SL.) and (Lambert NM, & Fincham FD).
6. Improved Sleep with Gratitude. In using gratitude as even a weekly practice shows improvements in overall sense of wellbeing which are contributed to getting better sleep. (Jackowska M, Brown J, Ronaldson A, & Steptoe A.).
7. Heart Health. Amazingly people who use gratitude and especially in journaling and regular gratitude journals see benefits of lowered blood pressure. (Jans-Beken, L. Beken, Jacobs, N. Janssens, M. Peeters, S. , Reijnders, J., Lechner, L., & Lataster, J..) and (Singh, M, & Khan, Waheeda) and (Emmons, Robert).
8.Getting Happiness! When we share gratitude and receive gratitude our mood is enhanced, and we feel happy. The feeling of happiness occurs because when we share and receive gratitude there is a release of the feel-good chemicals in our brain which are dopamine, and serotonin. (Chowdhury, M. R.).
9. Work and Gratitude: Noticing people and thanking them for their help and contribution at work also gives additional benefits. People who receive thanks, are more likely to want to help again and also see the person who is thanking them as a person who is cooperative and considerate. The person who is thanking is also not as stressed out and is more approachable which means more work gets done in a harmonious manner. (Gallo, A.).
10. Grief and Gratitude. This seemingly odd pair have a strong relationship. They both share physical, cognitive, emotional, relational, and spiritual components that impact us deeply. When we cultivate gratitude we are also developing resilience (as mentioned above), better coping abilities, and enhanced inner strength because gratitude practices affects positive emotion, and develops meaning, generating resilience and personal growth which are all of beneficial through the grief process. (Elfers, J., Hlava, P., Sharpe, F., Arreguin, S., & McGregor, D. C.).
11. Spirituality and Gratitude. People who express gratitude are more likely to have awareness of and connect to the interconnectedness of all life. Awareness of the interconnectedness generates a responsibility to others as well as to the environment, nature, and all creatures. The connection to spirituality is not related to being religious. (Mccullough ME, Emmons RA, & Tsang JA.).
At the end of this article get your Gratitude Meditation discount code.
The Science of Gratitude includes a long list of benefits that include
- Keeping a gratitude diary for two weeks produced sustained reductions in perceived stress (28 percent) and depression (16 percent) in health-care practitioners.
- Gratitude is related to 23 percent lower levels of stress hormones (the stress hormone is cortisol).
- Practicing gratitude led to a 7-percent reduction in biomarkers of inflammation in patients with congestive heart failure.
- Two gratitude activities (counting blessings and gratitude letter writing) reduced the risk of depression in at-risk patients by 41 percent over a six-month period.
- Dietary fat intake is reduced by as much as 25 percent when people are keeping a gratitude journal.
- A daily gratitude practice can decelerate the effects of neurodegeneration (as measured by a 9 percent increase in verbal fluency) that occurs with increasing age.
- Grateful people have 16 percent lower diastolic blood pressure and 10 percent lower systolic blood pressure compared to those less grateful.
- Grateful patients with Stage B asymptomatic heart failure were 16 percent less depressed, 20 percent less fatigued and 18 percent more likely to believe they could control the symptoms of their illness compared to those less grateful.
- Older adults administered the neuropeptide oxytocin showed a 12 percent increase in gratitude compared to those given a placebo
- Writing a letter of gratitude reduced feelings of hopelessness in 88 percent of suicidal inpatients and increased levels of optimism in 94 percent of them.
- Grateful people (including people grateful to God) have between 9-13 percent lower levels of Hemoglobin A1c, a key marker of glucose control that plays a significant role in the diagnosis of diabetes.
- Gratitude is related to a 10 percent improvement in sleep quality in patients with chronic pain, 76 percent of whom had insomnia, and 19 percent lower depression levels.
(University of California, Davis Student Health and Counseling Services (2023).
How Can You Practice Gratitude?
- Keep a gratitude journal by writing down what you are grateful for each day.
- When you go outside notice the sounds, colors, feelings, creatures and consider how you are grateful for what you notice.
- When you are inside a building or your home notice what you are grateful for, temperature, light, food, shelter, and more.
- Send a quick short note to someone to share your gratitude.
- What music inspires you? How are you grateful?
Get the Gratitude Meditation that gives you different methods to use it with yourself and others with the following code THANKYOU. Special offer save 30% on the Gratitude Meditation
Algoe SB, Fredrickson BL, Gable SL. The social functions of the emotion of gratitude via expression. Emotion. (2013). doi: 10.1037/a0032701
Burton, L. R. The Neuroscience and positive impact of gratitude int eh workplace. American Association for Physician Leadership. (2020). https://www.physiciansleaders.org/news/the-neuroscience-and-posivie-impact-of-gratitude–in-the-workplace
Chih-Che Lin. Self-Esteem and Depression as Mediators of the Effects of Gratitude on Suicidal Ideation Among Taiwanese College Students. National Taipei University of Technology. (2019). https://doi.org/10.1177/0030222819892358
Chowdhury, M. R. (2023). The Neuroscience of Gratitude and Effects on the Brain. https://positivepsychology.com/neuroscience-of-gratitude
Elfers, J., Hlava, P., Sharpe, F., Arreguin, S., & McGregor, D. C. (2023). Resilience and Loss: The Correlation of Grief and Gratitude. International Journal of Applied Positive Psychology. (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41042-023-00126-1
Emmons, Robert. The Science of Gratitude. University of Davis, California. (2023).
Gallo, A. Giving Thanks at Work, An HBR Guide. (2021). The Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2021/11/giving-thanks-at-work-an-hbr-guide
Gratitude is Good Medicine. (2015). University of California, Davis, Medical Center. https://health.ucdavis.edu/medicalcenter/features/2015-2016/11/20151125_gratitude.html
Jackowska M, Brown J, Ronaldson A, Steptoe A. The impact of a brief gratitude intervention on subjective well-being, biology, and sleep. Journal of Health Psychology. (2016). doi: 10.1177/1359105315572455
Jans-Beken, L. Beken, Jacobs, N. Janssens, M. Peeters, S., Reijnders, J., Lechner, L., & Lataster, J.. (2020) Gratitude and health: An updated review, The Journal of Positive Psychology. doi: 10.1080/17439760.2019.1651888
Khan, Waheeda & Singh, M. Gratitude and health among young adults. Indian Journal of Positive Psychology. (2014). Shree Guru Gobind Singh Tricentenary University. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/279854178_Gratitude_and_health_among_young_adults_Indian_Journal_of_Positive_Psychology_co-author_Singh_M_5_4_2014_pp465-73
Krysinska, K., Lester, D., Lyke, J., & Corveleyn, J. (2015). Trait gratitude and suicidal ideation and behavior: An exploratory study. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention. https://doi.org/10.1027/0227-5910/a000320
Lambert NM, Fincham FD. Expressing gratitude to a partner leads to more relationship maintenance behavior. Emotion. (2011). doi: 10.1037/a0021557
Lashani Z, Shaeiri M R, Asghari-Moghadam M A, Golzari M. Effect of Gratitude Strategies on Positive Affectivity, Happiness, and Optimism. Iranian Journal Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology. 2012; URL: http://ijpcp.iums.ac.ir/article-1-1614-en.html
McCullough, M. E., Emmons, R. A., & Tsang, J. (2002). The Grateful Disposition: A Conceptual and Empirical Topography. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 112-127. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-35126.96.36.199
Seligman ME, Steen TA, Park N, Peterson C. Positive psychology progress: empirical validation of interventions. American Psychology. (2005).
Wood, A. M., Maltby, J., Gillett, R., Linley, P. A., & Joseph, S. (2008). The role of gratitude in the development of social support, stress, and depression: Two longitudinal studies. Journal of Research in Personality, 42(4), 854–871. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2007.11.003