I started by reading an article Amit Amin posted to the blog, HappierHuman, about 31 benefits of gratitude that typically go unnoticed. For you visual learners, he provided an informational flow chart:
The most common method of expressing gratitude is writing in a gratitude journal for five-minutes a day, which Amin suggests can increase long-term well-being by more than 10 percent. "That's the same impact as doubling your income!"
After reading this article, I thought to myself, "Can it really be that easy? Can the simple act of expressing gratitude really improve so many different parts of my life?" I decided to investigate by writing in a gratitude journal for 7 consecutive days.
Here's what happened:
I felt less stressed. When I noted one thing that I was grateful for at the end of each day, I had a renewed sense of why I do what I do! In turn, I felt a new level of excitement when I had to tackle my to-do list each day.
I felt more sociable and outgoing. I noticed a pattern when I wrote down that I was thankful for a person, friend, or family member - by doing so, this usually made me feel more outgoing and positive in my social interactions. It was like a self-fulfilling prophecy: recognizing the good attributes of the people in my life inspired me to try to be more like them.
I felt more motivated. Recognizing the areas of my life that I was grateful for inspired me to do more. Taking time to reflect on what I've already accomplished motivated me to continue working hard and to set new goals for the future.
I felt more joyful. In a week, I noticed the benefits of gratitude much sooner than I anticipated. From increased motivation, to feeling more sociable, to a decrease in stress, to feeling more optimistic - all of these advantages boosted my mood and increased my overall happiness.
With the holiday season among us, it's the perfect time to start reflecting on what you're thankful for. I challenge you to start expressing your gratitude and reap these awesome benefits!