Top 5 Science-backed Benefits of Gratitude
In the fast-paced, high-octane, winner-grabs-all life of the 21st century, we are all too focused on the rat race to feel any sense of gratitude in our lives or the society in general. Everybody has a long list of goals that somehow manages to elude them no matter how hard they try, so what is there to be thankful for? But little did we know that the simple but powerfully symbolic act of gratitude can make our life so much easier and burdens much lighter to bear. If only we knew.
Gratitude helps you look at your life through objective lenses. It teaches us to accept our present situation without feeling despair or melancholy about it. Shouldn’t you be grateful for good health, the friends and family around you, the ability to earn a decent living and all the perks of life that you take for granted?
It might surprise you to know that the best minds in the field of psychology and neurology are increasingly spending tremendous resources to understand the effects of gratitude on our lives. Here are some of the top benefits of being grateful, according to science.
Gratitude Reduces Materialism and Increases Contentment
The rise of the internet and social media have blown materialism out of proportion, making millions of people feel inadequate about their lives. People become sad when they can’t have things other people have, even when they know they cannot afford it. However, research shows that gratitude can reduce materialism.
The social media, bling culture and pop culture reality shows like the Kardashians create an erroneous impression that you need a lot of money to be happy.
Unfortunately, money cannot buy you happiness. The more you spend to fill a void in your life, the more you are forced to splurge to feel good about yourself. It is the reason why you are trading your 2017 iPhone for the latest iPhone X. You want to feel that rush of dopamine. But it won’t last.
You become happier when you are satisfied with what you can reasonably afford. Your life and bank account will be far healthier when you drop the gauntlet of materialism.
Gratitude helps to reduce psychological and physical stress. Stress, especially chronic stress causes elevated levels of cortisol, which increases the appetite for junk foods, encourages the accumulation of fat in the belly region and contributes to several chronic health disorders.
On the other hand, gratitude helps douse tension, release stress and relax the body. When you are grateful for what you have, you learn to take it easy with life and go one step at a time. A peaceful mind increases your ability to cope with stress and difficult times, ultimately making you happier.
Do you know that gratitude improves your quality of sleep? According to the results of a study on gratitude, the researchers stated that “Gratitude predicted greater subjective sleep quality and sleep duration, and less sleep latency and daytime dysfunction.” So, if you are having issues with your sleep, maybe being grateful might be the solution to your insomnia.
Increases Forgiveness and Empathy
Gratitude ignites the spirit of forgiveness in us and helps us empathize more with people around us. Studies show that grateful people show more understanding, care, and empathy during tense situations with others.
Research shows gratitude helps us appreciate the love and care of the people around us. When you are grateful for what your spouse or parents do for you, the bond between you becomes stronger, love increases, and you have happier and longer-lasting relationships. Being grateful can also help manage the challenges in our relationships. When you remember and feel thankful for the good things your loved ones have done for you, it becomes easier to forgive them.
During this time of Thanksgiving remember why you get together with friends and family. Be thankful for what you currently have and watch your life improve in an instant. Stop trying to be better than the rest and be yourself. You are worth it! Have an amazing holiday season!
With deepest gratitude,
Dr. Brian Wallace