Do you want to know 5 surprising ways practicing gratitude improves your life?
Practicing gratitude has been shown to impact our emotions and emotional well-being positively.
It can even change our brain chemistry and help us become better leaders.
A gratitude practice can take many forms, and the best thing is to try what works the best for you.
You could, for instance, start your day writing in a gratitude journal, use evening prayers, or simply start paying attention to the little things in life, like the beautiful blue sky and green trees outside.
No matter what gratitude exercise you implement into your daily routine, it’ll benefit your life in more ways than one.
Here are 5 surprising ways practicing gratitude can improve your life:
1. Enhances Brain Chemistry
A study by Joshua Brown and Joel Wong at Indiana University revealed that people who wrote gratitude letters or journals had greater activation in the medial prefrontal cortex when experiencing gratitude compared to those who didn’t use this practice.
The medial prefrontal cortex mediates decision making, long-term memory, our ability to learn new things, etc.
Surprisingly, the increased activation was noticed only after three months of practicing gratitude journaling, which indicates that expressing gratitude may have lasting positive effects on the brain.
While not conclusive, this finding shows that gratitude exercises may help train the brain to be more sensitive to the experience of being grateful, which can contribute to improved mental health over time.
2. Boosts Long-Term Happiness
Another study by Emmons and McCullough (the University of California & Miami) shows that journaling for only five minutes a day about what we are thankful for can boost our long-term happiness by over 10%.
Often, we are so caught up in what we don’t have that we can’t see what we already have to be grateful for.
So, simply turning our attention to what we do have to be thankful for can make us feel happier about our lives.
3. Increases Psychological Well-Being and Self-Esteem
Another way gratitude improves our lives is by reducing many toxic emotions, such as envy, resentment, regret, and frustration that make us feel bad.
A 2017 study by researcher Chih-Che Lin found that even when controlling for personality, a high level of gratitude positively impacts psychological well-being, self-esteem, and depression.
This means that living a life of gratitude will help you feel better about yourself and your circumstances, which, in other words, can lead to increased psychological well-being and self-esteem.
4. Improves Leadership Skills
In addition, research has shown that embodying daily gratitude exercises can improve your managerial skills.
In fact, it’s shown to enhance your praise-giving and motivating abilities as a leader and help employees thrive in their roles.
Practicing gratitude also makes us more patient, which can help us make better economic decisions that may increase business revenue.
It decreases the need for short-term gratification and instead allows us to focus on long-term goals.
5. Strengthens Romantic Relationships and Friendships
Expressing gratitude to our significant others or friends improves the overall quality of the relationship, according to an Algoe, Fredrickson, and Gable study.
Not only do we make our loved ones or friends feel better when expressing gratitude, but it also makes us feel good.
It’s always a gift to make someone happy and help them feel good about themselves or their actions.
As a result, the enhanced appreciation you feel towards each other can improve the relationship.
You’re also more likely to solve potential conflicts and other concerns that threaten the relationship.
Practicing gratitude is powerful and can improve our lives in several ways.
Not only does it help us feel better and make us better leaders or partners, but it also helps us be more patient and focus on long-term goals.
Overall, adopting a positive attitude and being thankful for what you already have will help you attract more positive things, people, and events into your life.
Before you go, you should also check out our post on 5 eye-opening benefits of intermittent fasting to boost your health even more.