How to Improve Your Health with Gratitude

Achieving wellness includes far more than what you eat or how active you are. It includes thoughts and habits too, such as gratitude. When you make practicing gratitude part of your healthy lifestyle, it will help you create a life filled with passion, interest, and grace.

A Role Model for Gratitude
Some time ago I read an inspiring story about Stan “The Man” Musial, one of the most beloved baseball heroes of all time. He made practicing gratitude part of his daily life, acknowledging people with appreciation and thanks, and embracing the importance of being a role model. An asset to his community as well as his sport, he was known as baseball’s “Perfect Knight.”

His story got me thinking of the people in my life whom I respect, admire, and love. Turns out, they all share this common feature of living with grace. That realization made me ask an important question: “Has there been any research on the effect of gratitude on people’s lives?”

The Science of Gratitude
What I discovered is that there is indeed a large body of scientific work on gratitude. It shows that people who are more grateful have higher levels of well-being. They are happier, less depressed, less stressed, and more satisfied with their lives and social relationships. In fact, researchers from the School of Psychology at the University of Manchester in England found that gratitude appears to be a stronger link to health (and happiness) than any other character trait.

Health Benefits of Gratitude
Strong evidence that gratitude has clear health benefits came from of a study by positive psychology expert Martin Seligman, PhD. The study randomly assigned six possible therapies, including gratitude, to participants. Those assigned gratitude paid a “gratitude visit” to someone in their life, writing and delivering a letter of appreciation. This simple gesture caused a significant rise in their happiness score, and a significant fall in depression scores. Gratitude had a clearly positive effect on participants’ quality of life.

Five Gratitude Habits

Here are five simple ways to make gratitude part of your life:

1. Keep a Gratitude Journal.
Write down three things you are grateful for every day. Studies in which participants recorded what they were thankful for showed a long-lasting uptick in their happiness scores.

2. Express Appreciation.
Want to feel more appreciation in your life? Start by expressing more appreciation. Some might argue that the need to feel loved is our greatest emotional need we have, but I believe there is no greater emotional need than appreciation. And I’ve found that the things we really want in life are usually best obtained by giving more.

3. Pay a Gratitude Visit.
Consider creating your own gratitude visit. Pick a worthy recipient, who has touched your life in a profound way. Figure out the best way to make a special acknowledgment, and watch the magic unfold. The more special you make it for the recipient, the more special it will be for you.

4. Look for Gratitude Opportunities
As you go about your day, be aware of chances to acknowledge those around you. Is there a chance to express your gratitude? Seize the opportunity to say “Thank you.”

5. Be Grateful Daily.
Making gratitude part of every day can significantly impact your life, your relationships, and your health. It’s simple, safe, has no side effects, and yet is still very powerful medicine.

If you practice these habits as much as possible, I promise you that you will not only uplift those around you, but also your own life.

62 comments

Dianne D.
Dianne D3 years ago

I practiced this daily through prayer, but a couple of months ago, everyone and everything I was grateful for and praying for, was taking from me. I just can't get back into this because I can't go through this again. I'm afraid to pray.

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Lawrence Dsouza
Lawrence D3 years ago

The attitude of gratitude, yes it works its magic and is such a beautiful way of life when worked regularly. Thanks for the reminder to make it a choice again.

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william Miller
william M3 years ago

thanks

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Denise E.
Denise E4 years ago

I so agree, life does begin to change when we are grateful for things, even small things, it changes our perception, I have started doing this over the last couple of months and it's amazing how much we can find give gratitude for!

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Elena Poensgen
Elena P4 years ago

Thank you

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Dt Nc
Dt Nc4 years ago

Thanks for writing. It's important to be grateful; it keeps you in the present, keeps it real.

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Sarah Hill
Sarah H4 years ago

I try to thank everyone who does something for me. I like to be appreciated, so does everyone else.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus C4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Mary B.
Mary B4 years ago

It's a matter of focus. Look for things, stories, ideas, that bring forth appreciation. Lay off the debating, ridiculing, fear and anger producing stream of stuff we're fed every day. It will still be there later when you want to go back into it. But take long breaks, decide what you really think and ask if those are even your own thoughts. If not, let them go.

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Nikki Davey
Nikki D4 years ago

We're all forgetting to do this. Thanks for flagging it up.

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