Being grateful may not always be easy — but it sure is good for you. (Photo by David Malan/Getty Images)
'Tis the season for those warm fuzzy feelings: Love, friendship, peace and, of course, gratitude. And turns out, there are a lot of good reasons to feel, and express, thanks — many of which benefit you.
Below are some things you may not have realized about gratitude, from its health benefits to need-to-know tips to maintaining a positive attitude. We hope they’ll inspire you to say “thank you” to a loved one today!
1. Writing down what you’re grateful for — yes, with a pen and paper — has been linked in research to a multitude of health benefits.
2. Materialistic people may have all the tangible “stuff,” but research shows they’re low in well-being. The reason: They lack gratitude.
3. Writing and delivering a thank you note can actually make you happier.
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4. If you’re a manager, saying “thank you” to your employees could actually increase their motivation.
5. For teens, gratitude could mean better behavior in school and higher levels of happiness and hopefulness, according to one study.
6. Gratitude could also have a positive effect on teens’ GPAs.
7. Keeping track of what you’re grateful for could make you feel more optimistic about the week ahead.
8. Having a grateful outlook on life could also help you be a better support to those in need.
9. Being appreciative of the little things your partner does can help your relationship thrive.
10. A good way to increase your feelings of gratitude is to embrace the setbacks you experience in life, according to leading gratitude researcher Robert Emmons, of the University of California, Davis.
11. In addition to keeping a gratitude journal, use visual reminders to help you remember to count your blessings.
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12. Gratitude makes you a better team player and could even have effects against athlete burnout.
13. It will help you better manage stress (and even protect you against negative effects of stress).
14. You can turn your mindfulness meditation into an opportunity for gratitude by focusing on what you’re thankful for.
Related: In Praise of Spacing Out
15. Gratitude has positive effects on the brain, including mood neurotransmitters and hormones that are key to social bonding.
16. It helps us go against our natural tendency to let the “bad” outweigh the “good” in our lives.
17. Gratitude can also help you sleep better.
18. Even though a grateful temperament is, to some extent, genetic, you can cultivate gratitude through experience and behavior.
19. If you want to boost your gratitude, think about your life without something — chances are, you’ll then feel more grateful for that thing.
20. Vow to be grateful, as it will increase the likelihood you’ll actually do it.