When I was in 4th grade, my teacher asked the class to write down what we were thankful for. It was an interesting exercise because it forced me to think about things I’d never considered that made me feel grateful.
These types of gratitude lists are very common. It’s because being grateful is actually a good thing. When your parents told you to write that thank you note to your grandma they were on to something (besides making you feel guilty). Gratitude actually confers some surprising and incredible benefits. Here are a few of them.
Gratitude Makes You Happier
Gratitude has been shown in many studies to increase our happiness levels. This benefit might not be that surprising since someone who focuses on negative feelings will get more negative feelings.
On the other hand, those who try to be thankful for what they have will focus more on the positive elements of life. For example, if you reflect on your day and think about the rain, your annoying boss, and the traffic jam, you’ll be depressed. But, if you choose to think about something cute your dog did after work and your loving girlfriend making you dinner, you’ll be happy.
This increased happiness is the foundation for all of the other benefits of gratitude.
Gratitude Makes You More Attractive
Those who have negative personality traits such as rudeness are judged as less attractive for romantic interaction. And, people with positive personality traits are rated as more attractive, even when physical appearance is considered. So, people want to date those who make them feel good. Shocker, I know!
And, what is one key to being positive? Gratitude for what you have in your life is a huge factor in a positive personality. Those ungrateful people who complain all the time and focus on the negative? They just aren’t as attractive. Gratitude makes you sexier.
Gratitude Makes You More Popular
Gratitude positively impacts our mental states, making us happier, more social, more trusting and more receptive to interaction with others. In addition, expressing gratitude in relationships has been shown to make the other person happier and improve communication.
So, if you are unpopular and have no friends? Gratitude can help. Being personally grateful and expressing it to others will make you more likeable and easy to be around. Those are good building blocks to meet new people and make friends.
Gratitude Makes You Healthier
In one study, some individuals were asked to focus on the negative things in their week while another group focused instead on gratitude. The researchers found that the grateful people reported not only being happier, but also exercising more and making fewer doctor’s visits.
Negativity, on the other hand, keeps you unwell. Again, this shouldn’t be too surprising since constantly focusing on negative emotions leads to anxiety, depression, desperation, and neediness. All of that isn’t just mentally draining but takes a toll on your physical health, as well.
So, now that you know the benefits of gratitude, you know what to do! Be more grateful. I know it’s not that easy. But, a good place to start is to actually reflect on the good things in your day. Write down what you’re thankful for at the end of everyday. And, vow to create more of those moments. That’s a great start to increase your gratitude.