The Benefits of Being Grateful
John F. Kennedy once said, "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them." Gratitude is an important part of life, and a simple thank you goes further than you realize. Multiple studies have shown that being grateful benefits you physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. These benefits include improved health, a positive outlook on life, higher chance of achieving personal goals, and greater satisfaction in personal relationships. A study done in 2003 by researchers from University of California, Davis, and University of Miami found that the simple act of journaling things you are grateful for led to participants exercising more regularly and being more optimistic about the future (Emmons & McCullough, 2003). Expressing gratitude improves your life and the lives of those around you, and there are many great ways to express it.
Saying thank you is the simplest and one of the most affective ways to express gratitude. That simple phrase is a sign of respect to others, and shows that you are paying attention to the things they do. Some other ways of expressing gratitude include keeping a gratitude journal to write about the positive things you experience, sending thank you cards, giving someone a 'thank you' gift, and starting a conversation with someone about how they are doing. Try some of these ideas and see how your life improves, and how you impact the lives of those around you.
The holiday season is upon us which provides us plenty of opportunities to practice expressing gratitude with friends and family. Here are a couple of fun activities that can be done with your loved ones that can help you make the most of this time of year. A family service project brings the family closer together, and helps your community grow stronger. Service projects can include outreach efforts to the homeless population by passing out blankets or serving dinner at a soup kitchen, visiting residents at a nursing home, or helping with community clean-up efforts. Another fun idea is to exercise your creative muscles by doing a craft or writing a poem that focuses on what your family is grateful for. Please visit the links below for other fun ideas, and to see more benefits of being grateful.
Sources and Links
Gratitude Works: Summary of Robert Emmons' Study
Greater Good Science Center: The Science of Gratitude
How to Express Gratitude to Others: 19 Examples and Ideas
10 Gratitude Activities to Do with Your Family This Thanksgiving