Despite the hardships of 2020, many of us will take time this holiday season to reflect on the gifts we’ve been given, the people we love, and the opportunities we’ve been afforded. It seems appropriate this time of year, and this is also a good time to remember that being grateful is a tool we all have access to all year long. Having an attitude of gratitude doesn’t cost any money, doesn’t take much time, and research tells us that the benefits are enormous.
Gratitude improves physical health. Grateful people are more likely to take care of their health. They experience fewer aches and pains, and report feeling healthier than other people, according to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences.
"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things." —Robert Brault
Gratitude improves psychological health. Multiple studies by leading gratitude researcher Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D. conclude that gratitude increases happiness and decreases depression. It reduces toxic emotions, including envy, resentment, frustration and regret.
Gratitude increases mental strength. Research shows that gratitude reduces stress and may play a major role in overcoming trauma. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on September 11.
Studies also show that grateful people sleep better, have better self-esteem and show more empathy. Even when, or maybe especially when, it seems like blessings are few, may be the most important time to count them.
(synopsis Amy Morin Forbes 11/23/14)