Fort Wellness Counseling

12 Benefits of Gratitude

a person practicing gratitude and enjoying the benefits of it.

With Thanksgiving coming to a close, we thought it was fitting to explore the link between gratitude and mental well-being. From gratitude journaling to evening prayers, this practice can mean different things to different people. But regardless of what it looks like for you, gratitude plays a significant role in mental health. Stay tuned, as we’re revealing the top 12 benefits of gratitude in today’s blog post.

Top 12 Benefits of Gratitude Practice

Curious how gratitude impacts your everyday life? Below are the top 12 benefits of gratitude practice:

1. Improve Mental Health

There are many factors that contribute to positive mental health. However, gratitude is one of the best. Take this 2020 study for example – it demonstrated how regular gratitude practice can ease symptoms of anxiety and depression. 

Furthermore, this 2008 study found that gratitude can boot the neurotransmitter serotonin and activates the brain stem to produce dopamine.  Dopamine is also known as our brain’s pleasure chemical.  We can feel happier by having more grateful thoughts.  Science has proven that gratitude is helpful for improving your mental health. 

2. Boost Your Immune System

It’s no secret that gratitude contributes to an overall sense of well-being. However, this research review revealed that stress can lower the body’s immune response to potential threats. The study also found that mental well-being can ward off illness. And gratitude is a terrific supporter of mental health.

3. Improve Relationships

In addition to your mental and physical health, practicing gratitude can improve your relationships. Not only will it help form lasting relationships, but it will strengthen your existing ones. Gratitude enhances romantic relationships especially, as partners feel more satisfied with one another.  

4. Increase Optimism

Did you know that optimistic people are more likely to age healthier? And if you’re not naturally optimistic (which is a lot of us), gratitude journaling and practicing optimism can help cultivate a more optimistic outlook.

5. Sleep Better

Believe it or not, writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep habits. All it takes is 15 minutes of jotting down some grateful sentiments (preferably before bed) to sleep better and longer. If you aren’t sure how to get started, these gratitude journaling prompts will guide you:   

    • Describe your favorite moment of today

    • List five things you are grateful for today

    • Write about a random act of kindness from a stranger

    • Describe your favorite person – write down their qualities

    • Write about something you accomplished today (and how you feel now)

6. Boost Self-Esteem

The society we live in makes self-esteem difficult at times. However, it is essential to function at our best. Practicing gratitude reduces our social comparisons. And instead of resenting those who have more money (or better jobs or bigger houses or healthier relationships), it teaches us to appreciate others’ accomplishments.

7. Support Mental Strength

Not only does gratitude reduce stress, but it helps us overcome trauma. Studies have shown that grateful war veterans experience lower rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Why? Recognizing all you have to be thankful for (even on the worst days of your life) fosters resilience.

8. Reduce Aggression (and Improve Empathy)

Grateful people are less likely to retaliate against others (even when they aren’t-so-kind). When facing negative feedback (or any kind of feedback, for that matter), grateful people experience more sensitivity and empathy. Additionally, they don’t have as strong a desire for revenge.

9. Improve Social Life

Ready for a shocker? Gratitude makes people like us. Regularly practicing gratitude makes us nicer, more trusting, more sociable, and more appreciative. The result? Grateful people make more friends, deepen their existing relationships, and improve their partnerships. Therefore, they have more social capital than their ungrateful counterparts.

10. Elevate Your Career

Gratitude supports managerial skills, as well as networking abilities, decision-making capabilities, productivity, and finding mentors/protegees. Therefore, regularly practicing gratitude can help achieve career goals. Of course, it also makes the workplace a more enjoyable place to be.

11. Decrease Self-Centeredness

To some degree, to be human is to be self-centered. However, gratitude practice shifts our focus away from ourselves and our problems. That way, it’s easier to fixate on the benevolence of others.

12. Skyrocket Energy Levels

Finally, the last of the 12 benefits of gratitude is its ability to skyrocket our energy levels. Gratitude strongly correlates with both physical and mental vitality. Therefore, grateful people are more likely to respond with vigor. This also applies to physicality, as grateful people exercise more regularly.

Top Therapist Fort Worth, Texas

Fort Wellness Counseling is home to one of Fort Worth’s Top Three Therapists. That means we’ve coached hundreds of people through gratitude practice and its benefits in their lives. Hopefully, this blog post was able to offer a glimpse into the top 12 benefits of gratitude and how gratitude can help you.

If you are experiencing anxiety, shame, or depression, gratitude journaling can offer some relief. However, the best way to overcome a mental health hurdle is to speak directly with a licensed counselor or therapist.

If this is something you’d be interested in, give us a call or book your appointment online today. We’d love to see if our practitioners are a good fit for you.

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