In this very chaotic modern life, we don’t really invest valuable time for ourselves and the people around us. The race for materialistic gains has turned so intense, that we’ve forgotten the actual meaning of being productive. When I take a pause from my busy modern life and ponder, my soul urges me to go back in time. The experience that our ancestors lived (excluding the stories of kings and kingdoms) had some meaning. The slow and steady life, simple needs, a soulful connection with nature, and more time for love and gratitude. What else ought there to be in a perfect life?
There’s a beautiful saying which goes, “gratitude turns what we have into enough.” This simple quote has more profound things left unsaid. If you’d like to imbibe one incredible skill that can quickly repair things, it’s the feeling of gratitude. So, even if you feel like your life is falling apart, learn the simple technique of gratitude, and you’ll reap the benefits.
Benefits of gratitude
Before you understand the benefits of gratitude, it’s important to know what to be grateful for. We have our own gratitude list that can help give you some ideas. This will put you in a headspace where you can look around and truly appreciate the small things in your life. Once you start there, you can begin to unlock the following benefits.
1. Improves mental well being
Let’s start with our brain. When you genuinely thank someone or express a feeling of gratitude, this attitude triggers the release of dopamine. Also, popular as a happy hormone, it makes you feel satisfied and contented. While this we are talking on a scientific level, you can literally feel the change within.
From the perspective of mental health, most of us face some kind of illness. Lack of sleep, anxiety, stress, and depression are some of the common problems. Can you believe that gratefulness could help you get rid of all this? It’s true. Several scientific studies show that gratitude improves the quality of your sleep. This means that you can fall asleep as soon as you go to bed and have a lengthier good night’s sleep.
Now, as you’ve conquered sound sleep, your anxiety levels come down. At this stage, count the number of blessings you have in your life. Research reveals that when people learn to appreciate, it reduces the stress levels. So, the ultimate benefit of gratitude is that you are on your way to improving your mental well being!
2. Alleviates physical pain
Have you ever thought why a mom-to-be can endure the labor pain until the birth of her child? It’s because of her inner feeling of happiness. She can survive this harrowing journey as she is waiting for her blessing to arrive. It may be not apparent, though, but she is grateful during that very moment. Ask your mother, she’ll tell you.
Yes, but on the flip side, it is hard to believe that feeling grateful can alleviate other types of physical pain. However, a study, in 2003, called Counting Blessings vs. Burdens, proved this to be true. A group of patients suffering from physical pain was asked to have their diary of gratitude. Out of all, 16% showed reduced symptoms, while 10% reported a decrease in pain. Moreover, these patients showed a willingness to exercise and felt more motivated in their recovery. Hence, it concluded that grateful people are more willing to take care of their health. A different study, in 2012, published in Personality and Individual Differences talked about the same benefit of gratitude.
3. Heals your spiritual self
With the daily changes, events, and incidents occurring in our life, we often lose the connection with our spiritual being. Our inner spirit is more powerful than our physical and mental existence. So, if you are thankful – to anyone, anything, or God – your inner self gets flooded with happiness and satisfaction. It strengthens your faith in God, or if you’ve lost it completely – it’ll get restored. With this, you establish a deeper connection with yourself, which eventually motivates you to become a kind human being.
Another benefit of gratitude is the door that leads to humility. As your connection to yourself reaches a new level, you start realizing the good things around you. Here it’s interesting to note that ancient religions all have different ways of expressing appreciation, respect, and gratitude. Take, for example, the gesture of Namaste in yoga as well as the Hindu religion. When you join your hands and say Namaste to someone, it stimulates your spiritual self. It works as a fuel for your inner soul that has long been trying to give you signals to follow kindness.
If you want to form a deeper connection to yourself and live a more examined life, try to learn meditation on your own at home. It’s a great way to understand your mind but also practice gratitude.
4. Brings you closer to your loved ones
Perhaps, you can see the instant benefit of gratitude in your relationships. It can improve relationships to the extent that the passion stays between you and your partner – forever. Try taking your partner’s hands in your hands. And just say that you are really grateful to her/him being a part of your life. See what happens next? You’d be delighted! If you continue doing this every day without being boring – or formal – the spark between you two will remain alive. But here’s the point – you need to feel the same within.
Numerous studies in this matter have proved to be right. One such study of couples found that partners who took time in expressing gratitude for their partner felt positive towards the other. They were able to show their concerns about their relationships more comfortably. You are actually preparing yourself to say thank you to your partner. So, you’re being very thoughtful towards your relationship.
Many other types of research show gratitude helps us initiate, maintain, and spice up our relationships. Not just in romantic relationships, but even in the family. Be it your parents, your children, your sibling, or your relatives. Saying thank you from the bottom of your heart means that you will have them by your side, especially in bad times.
5. Makes you more productive in your career
The benefit of gratitude is visible even as you are climbing up the ladder of your career. Today, the workplace has become more competitive than ever. I mean, even your boss hardly recognizes your work. I don’t mean that a manager should not criticize his workers. But sometimes, we overdo it as human beings. Being grateful to your employees could encourage them to do more. For example, researchers at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania divided university fund-raisers into two groups. One group made phone calls to request donations as usual. But when the second group made phone calls, they received pep talks from a personage. This person told the fund-raisers that she was grateful for their efforts. Just after a week, the fund-raisers who received the gratitude were able to hit 50% more calls. So, it’s evident that thanking is a way of motivating others to do better. Moreover, your staff will look after their duties with less stress and more confidence.
And, for you as the manager, it will help you boost your confidence. As a result, you will be able to make better decisions while achieving your goals effectively.
For employees, showing gratitude helps increase your network. You will understand a bit of this in the next benefit of gratitude explained ahead.
6. Opens doors to new opportunities
If you are expressing your gratitude to a stranger, that person might never forget that. This may also pave the way for a future acquaintance. You never know. As per a study published in 2014, showing appreciation can help you make new friends. It also found that showing gratitude to your acquaintances or friends is equal to sowing the seeds of long-term relationships. You can take the relationship to the next level. Or, perhaps, it is also one of the best ways to start a conversation. So, whether you are thanking a stranger, a friend, or a colleague, it could be the doorway to new opportunities.
And going further into the topic, your habit of saying thank you could get contagious. As the saying goes that sharing good news multiplies your happiness, your expression of gratitude will have the same effect. Positive feelings won’t go in vain. They will stay with the person and create a chain of kindness in society. So, this benefit of gratitude turns out to be for the whole society.
The benefit beyond
We, as human beings, might not realize this every time. But appreciating mother nature who nurtures us is as essential as thanking God. However, the way we have been exploiting natural resources doesn’t seem to send the right signals. In the want of creating a human-dominating world, we have forgotten our roots of existence. And suddenly, the outbreak of coronavirus and self-isolation made us all – the world as a whole – realize that we are – just human beings. And that we are only as valuable as every other single living thing on this planet. At the same time, it is also likely, that you may feel less thankful for what’s happening right now.
But, with the feeling of gratefulness, this is our chance to bounce back in these dark times. Because appreciating every blessing around us strengthens our inner self to deal with adversity. To become more resilient. And, perhaps, this is the most significant benefit of gratitude for humanity.