Although a lot of people are reminded to be thankful on Thanksgiving, gratitude shouldn't be reserved for special occasions. Showing just a little appreciation for what you have could greatly improve your life year-round. Here are nine powerful ways gratitude can change your life:

1. People Will Like You More

The simple act of saying, "Thank you," inspires people to seek ongoing relationships, according to a 2014 study published in Emotion. Showing some appreciation is an easy way to start a conversation and over time, it can deepen your friendships.

2. You'll Sleep Better

Thinking about the things you're grateful for improves your quality of sleep, according to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research. Additionally, being thankful helps you sleep longer and you'll feel better rested when you wake up.

3. Your Psychological Well-Being Will Improve

Several studies have linked gratitude to lower levels of depression and less suicidal ideation, including a 2010 study published in the Clinical Psychology Review. Gratitude has also been linked to fewer toxic emotions, like resentment and envy.

4. Your Physical Health Will Improve

Being appreciative has powerful effects on your body. Researchers have linked gratitude to lower blood pressure, fewer aches and pains, and improved immunity. A 2015 study published in Spirituality in Clinical Practice found grateful people even have healthier hearts.

5. You'll Have More Energy to Work on Your Goals

Taking note of what you're grateful for could help you reach your goals. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that college students who kept gratitude journals reported higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, energy and attentiveness compared to their counterparts.

6. You'll be a Better Leader

Grateful leaders motivate their employees to be more productive, according to researchers at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. The study found that employees who were thanked by their managers made 50% more fundraising calls than their counterparts who hadn't heard the same token of appreciation.

7. You'll Recover from Hardship Easier

Gratitude is pivotal in managing stress and fostering mental strength, even during the most difficult times. A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War Veterans with high levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

8. You'll Feel Less Stressed

A 2006 study published in Research on Aging found that older people who were grateful experienced fewer harmful effects from stress than other people. Even those who lived in difficult circumstances, like poverty, experienced stress-buffering properties of gratitude.

9. You'll Feel Better About Yourself

Numerous studies, including a 2015 study published in Personality and Individual Differences, have linked gratitude with higher levels of self-esteem. Some studies report gratitude reduces social comparisons. So rather than feel envious of people who have more than you do, you may be better equipped to appreciate their accomplishments when you're thankful for the things you have in your own life.

Develop an Attitude of Gratitude

There are lots of ways to increase your gratitude. Whether you choose to count your blessings in a gratitude journal, or you decide to share your appreciation with others, take a few minutes to cultivate gratitude. Feeling thankful can be the simplest, and fastest way to improve your life.

Published on: Nov 25, 2015