When you want your everyday life to improve, don't just simply search for new things to buy or new experiences to enjoy--work instead to cultivate gratitude.
The benefits of gratitude are endless--and although becoming a happy, healthy human takes a lot of work, gratitude makes the journey to happiness a whole lot easier to endure.
Here are some motivating reasons to be grateful and spread the gratitude to others.
1. Improved sleep. Gratitude reduces the time required to fall asleep, increases sleep duration, and improves sleep quality.
2. Increases your social capital. Gratitude makes us nicer and more trusting, which can help foster or deepen strong relationships.
3. Strengthens your immune system. Feelings of gratitude and appreciation have been shown to result in a significant increase in levels of immunoglobulin A, which serves as the body's first line of defense against viruses.
4. Heals and relaxes. The parasympathetic, rest-and-digest, relaxing part of the nervous system is activated by gratitude.
5. Lowers stress levels. Gratitude activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which reduces your stress levels.
6. Makes you more likable. Being likable isn't all there is to life, but being grateful can certainly lead to happier and more pleasant relationships with friends, family, and partners.
7. Makes you look better to others. Gratitude is a virtue in many cultures and can lead to an increase in respect from others.
8. Improves decision making. One study concluded that grateful physicians make better diagnoses: "Doctors who were given a piece of candy prior to this task, thereby inducing a feeling of gratitude, made the right diagnosis more often than doctors in the control group."
9. Raises creativity. Positive emotions can broaden our minds, resulting in more ideas.
10. Exercise more. Are you grateful for your health? If so, you'll want to protect it by exercising more.
11. Makes you more humble. Expressing gratitude can induce humility, which also ends up increasing your capacity for conveying gratitude.
12. Increases productivity. Gratitude can boost your confidence, meaning less of your mental resources are used on worries or insecurities. This in turn improves your focus towards your work.
13. Gratitude helps you make new friends. Expressing gratitude for something is a great conversation starter.
14. Makes you more helpful. Grateful and humble people are more inclined to lend a helping hand.
15. Helps you accomplish more goals. In one study it was revealed that study participants who kept gratitude journals reported more progress on their goals than the people in the control group.
16. Improves psychological health. Gratitude increases happiness and reduces depression according to leading research.
17. Helps you tap into your compassion. Writer Robert Emmons in his book Thanks! said, "...people who kept gratitude journals reported feeling closer and more connected to others, were more likely to help others, and were actually seen as more helpful by significant others in their social networks."
18. Lowers your blood pressure. Negative emotions put a strain on your heart and other organs. Gratitude injects more positivity and health into your life as a result.
19. Fewer aches and pains. Grateful people can have greater pain tolerance, since gratitude has analgesic effects.
20. Extends your lifespan. Live your life with positive emotions and you have a great shot at getting an extended lifespan.
21. Helps you become a more effective leader. When you become better at practicing gratitude, you become better at giving praise and driving enhanced performance.
22. Motivates others. A strong sense of gratitude also affects how well you can boost others.
23. Reduces aggression. According to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky, those who rank higher on gratitude scales are less likely to retaliate against others when given negative feedback.
24. Makes you more resilient. Research has shown gratitude can also play a major role in overcoming trauma.
25. Helps you feel better about yourself. Gratitude can increase your self-esteem, and, in other cases, can also reduce social comparisons.