This is the season of the pumpkin spice latte. This is the season of holiday music playing repeatedly in every store and on every radio station. It is the season of gift giving, hot apple cider, fireside cuddles, apple pie and family reunions. But above all else, it is the season to reap the benefits of gratitude. It is a time to be grateful for what you have and to appreciate the people who have been a part of your happiness. Turns out it’s not only the things you have that actually make you happy, but the people who helped you get there that bring you joy. And if all that makes you smile, then showing gratitude will make you even happier.
The benefits of gratitude go way beyond scoring you brownie points with your boss or your old-fashioned grandmother. Giving thanks can actually make you happier. Research investigating the relationship between giving thanks and happiness found that “Those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives.” So if you truly want to have a happy holiday season (and life, for that matter) you might want to start by saying thank you. Here are 12 benefits of gratitude.
There’s a difference between thinking, Thanks, I owe you one, and being truly grateful. If you feel indebted to someone else you may return the favor out of obligation, but that that won’t bring you happiness. If you are truly grateful, then you will want to do good for others simply because you feel happy and you want to make someone else happy as well.
2. Happy Memories
If you feel gratitude and happiness when you reflect on previous experiences, then it’s nearly impossible to feel miserable and unsatisfied at the same time. Not only showing but feeling gratitude creates a positive memory and leaves very little room for negativity.
3. Closer Friendships
We all have different qualities that we look for in a friend and we possess different strengths in our relationships. But one element is universal when it comes to friendship: gratitude. So if you want to show a friend that they matter to you, you might want to start with a simple thank you.
4. Stronger Relationships
Similarly, healthy, lasting relationships are built on a foundation of love, trust, friendship and value. No matter how annoyed you may get with one another, you have to know that your partner values you. And the only way to make sure your partner feels valued and loved is to tell them how much you appreciate them. Never forget the power of showing gratitude to those you love.
5. Optimistic Attitude
If you use your energy to focus on the aspects of your life that you are grateful for, then you won’t have room to worry about the things that make you feel unfulfilled or unhappy. One of the benefits of gratitude is that it helps you feel more optimistic about your life today and the potential for your life tomorrow.
6. You’re More Likeable
When thinking about happiness and gratitude, this should come as no surprise—if you show gratitude then people will like you more. No one wants to hang out around a Negative Nancy or a Debbie Downer. They want to surround themselves with positivity, fun and joy. If you forget to express your gratitude then all people will remember is your negative attitude. Write that down.
7. Banish Jealousy
It’s easy to be jealous of others or envious of what someone else has. We’re only human and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you focus on what you have that makes you smile—rather than what others have—then you will be happier in the long run.
8. Career Boost
If you love what you do, it won’t feel like work. People who feel valued at work tend to perform better in their jobs. So not only can gratitude make you feel better, but it can make your entire team more successful. And since success can lead to even more happiness, this seems like a win-win.
9. Higher Self-Esteem
Confidence comes from not only knowing your own worth, but also appreciating what you have in your life that brings you joy and purpose. First you need to recognize what makes you special, what makes you feel happy and fulfilled. And then you need to give thanks for those things, because only when you focus on those aspects of your life can you truly be proud of who you are and what you have to offer.
10. More Energy
There is no denying that when you feel good about your life and optimistic for the future, you will have more energy to tackle your day, and to do it with a smile. We all know the I’m awesome, today is going to be a great day, I’m going to work hard and kick a little butt while I’m at it, feeling. It’s a real thing, and it happens when you show gratitude instead of focusing on what is lacking in your life. Plus, when you have energy you tend to exercise more, and working out releases endorphins that make you even happier. Let’s break it down: Gratitude → Energy → Exercise → Happiness. The end.
11. Outer Beauty
People always say that there’s nothing sexier than a confident smile. But how can anyone be confident if they aren’t happy with who they are and what they have? Being attractive isn’t about what you wear, how thin you are, how perky your boobs are or when you last had your roots touched up. Sexiness comes from within, and it starts by be grateful for your loved ones, your body (yes even your flaws) and your life.
12. Increased Productivity
It’s not just about happiness and gratitude. You will work harder and more efficiently if you believe there is something worth working towards. If you are grateful for what you have, optimistic about what you want and happy about where your life is going, then you will be far more productive in your everyday tasks.