7 Reasons to be Grateful for Gratitude

In 1960, Disney released a movie called Pollyanna (based on a book by the same name). The movie follows the escapades of a young girl, an irrepressible optimist named Pollyanna. Her sunny outlook is contagious and soon the formerly bitter town is looking for the good things in life. The secret behind Pollyanna’s cheerfulness is The Glad Game, an exercise where she looks for all the things she’s glad about to pull her out of a sour mood. Turns out, Pollyanna had it right.

When you’ve suffered, or are currently suffering, a traumatic experience, it can be annoying if someone tells you to look on the bright side. In fact, it can seem impossible. Even if it seems difficult to find anything to show gratitude for, it’s worth at least trying. Gratitude can help you make huge strides on your healing journey. Here are 7 scientifically-backed (1) benefits that practicing gratitude can have in your life when you take time at least weekly to write down what you’re grateful for.

[Disclaimer: Like everything, not everyone will see every benefit to the same degree – we’re all different!]

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    Gratitude makes relationships better.

    If you are showing someone genuine and thoughtful gratitude, they will feel good about themselves and start thinking of all the things about you that make them grateful. It’s the law of reciprocity.

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    Gratitude is emotionally healing.

    It reduces depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders. It also promotes happiness and well-being.

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    Gratitude is physically healing.

    It can lower blood pressure, improve your immune system, reduce headaches, and improve your quality of sleep.

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    Gratitude is inspiring.

    You’ll be inspired into more acts of helpfulness and generosity and have a greater willingness to cooperate.

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    Gratitude helps you experience more positive emotion.

    When you’re grateful you’re more likely to feel joy, enthusiasm, love, happiness, and optimism. And when you do experience them, you’re more likely to experience higher levels of them.

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    Gratitude draws others to you.

    Grateful people are viewed as being more helpful, outgoing, and trustworthy. Your friends and family will enjoy being around you more when you’re practicing gratitude.

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    Gratitude is a skill anyone can cultivate.

    Practicing gratitude can be difficult for certain people and at certain times in their life. Not everyone is “wired” to feel grateful and it can be a struggle for some, but you CAN do it!

Pay attention to the things in your life that you are grateful for. Don’t just think of them; write them down. Take time today to write down at least one thing you’re grateful for. Who knows? Maybe creating a regular gratitude practice will change your life. What have you got to lose?

(1) Emmons, R.A., & Stern, R. (2013). Gratitude as a Psychotherapeutic Intervention. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 69(8), 846-855.