Gratitude: the feeling of being thankful or appreciative. Often it happens spontaneously when we receive something or while we’re making memories with family and friends. However, research continues to show that practicing feelings of gratitude on purpose has emotional and physical benefits.1 It can improve mood and well-being,2 improve sleep and reduce blood pressure,3 and even help strengthen your relationships.4
If you’re excited about all those benefits but aren’t sure where to start, try one of these five simple ideas. Even being more aware of all that you’re grateful for can be helpful, it doesn’t have to take a lot of time out of your day. For some, these emotions can feel uncomfortable at first and that’s okay. Start slow and find something that feels good to you.
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1. Randy A. Sansone and Lori A. Sansone, “Gratitude and Well Being: The Benefits of Appreciation,” Psychiatry 7, no. 11 (November 2010): 18-22, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21191529/.
2. Phillip C. Watkins, “Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being,” in The Psychology of Gratitude, ed. Robert A. Emmons and Michael E. McCullough, (Oxford University Press, 2004), 167-192.
3. Marta Jackowska, et al., “The Impact of a Brief Gratitude Intervention on Subjective Well-Being, Biology and Sleep,” Journal of Health Psychology 21, no. 10 (2016): 2207-17, https://doi.org/10.1177/1359105315572455.
4. Eric Pedersen and Debra Lieberman, “How Gratitude Helps Your Friendships Grow,” Greater-Good Magazine, December 6, 2017, https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_gratitude_helps_your_friendships_grow.