Gratitude is an attitude and way of living that has been shown to have many benefits in terms of health, happiness, satisfaction with life, and the way we relate to others. It goes hand in hand with mindfulness in its focus on the present and appreciation for what we have now, rather than wanting more and more.
Here are 5 proven reasons you need to choose gratitude to create the happiness you deserve, and at the same time, move toward success in both your personal and professional life:
1. You’ll be more Optimistic.
Optimism, regular positive thoughts and reactions to life’s challenges, is observable in brain scans. Optimistic thoughts calm and soothe the amygdala, the part of the brain that sounds the stress alarm. Focusing on your reasons for gratitude means focusing on the things that make you happy. It will just give you a more optimistic outlook, which will in turn make you feel happier and more grateful. It’s a self-reinforcing cycle, and that’s a good thing.
2. You’ll be more popular.
If your usual attitude is to be grateful for the good things in your life and you have a positive, happy outlook, you will be more fun to be around than if you’re constantly griping about everything. Most people are drawn to those who are positive, happy, and optimistic than they are to constant complainers. Your happy attitude may even prove to be contagious, making them happier too.
3. You’ll be more resilient.
Practicing gratitude will tend to give you a sense of perspective. If, as many gratitude gurus recommend, you start the day by mentally listing three things you’re grateful for before you even get out of bed, you’ll have a much better sense of what really matters than if you start the day by reaching for your phone or tablet and reading your email.
That sense of perspective may make a difference when you’re faced with a difficult co-worker, employee, or customer, a business or personal setback, or any of the other frustrations of modern life. You’ll be likelier to handle those frustrations with more wisdom, because keeping the things you’re grateful for in mind will help you see the big picture.
4. You’ll be more generous.
The ability to consider a situation from someone else’s point of view and treat that person with as much kindness as possible. Remembering that you’re grateful for your job or business will help you get over your aggravation if one of your co-workers or employees leaves a task unfinished so that you have to complete it.
5. You’ll live longer.
Three years ago, research confirmed what most of us have already observed: Happier people live longer, healthier lives. In a surprising study, researchers divided older people into happy, unhappy, and in-between categories and then tracked them over five years. More of the unhappy group died than either of the other two, and once researchers had controlled for age, chronic illness, depression, and healthy or unhealthy behaviors (such as getting regular exercise), they found that happy people were 35 percent less likely to die than unhappy ones. Practicing gratitude will not only make your life more enjoyable, it could actually give you more life.