Saying “thank you” isn’t just the polite thing to do, it’s also good medicine. Openly expressing gratitude can make everything in your life better, from relationships to stress, to your heart rate and blood pressure. In fact, gratitude has been identified as a key clinically relevant trait for improving overall health. But to really enjoy the full range of benefits that thankfulness offers, you need to turn your warm, fuzzy thoughts into action. That’s why keeping a gratitude journal is important. Teddy Droseros founded Grateful Peoples, a not-for-profit organization that distributes gratitude journals to schools to support teachers who want to make mindfulness a part of their curriculum. “Taking the time to write down and focus on the good parts of the day helps create a pattern of positive thinking that we can apply to all aspects of life,” says Droseros.
When you get the gratitude attitude you can expect to:
- Enjoy Stronger Friendships
- It only makes sense that people who appreciate their friends have stronger relationships with them. When you show your gratitude to people in your life, you both feel good, and that makes the relationship better. Communicating gratitude builds trust and makes it easier to work through problems, and make the relationship stronger.
- Feel Less Pain
- Grateful people say they’re less sensitive to physical discomfort and report fewer aches and pains. Some researchers believe gratitude may have analgesic effects by stimulating the release of endorphins.
- Have Less Stress
- A study conducted by UCLA found that gratitude turns down brain activity associated with the biological stress response, reducing inflammation and overall anxiety.
- Like Yourself Better
- Gratitude helps you understand how you benefit from the generosity of others. That boosts your sense of self-worth and leads to a higher level of psychological wellbeing.
- Live Longer
- Gratitude and other positive emotions have been shown to extend lifespans.
- Sleep More Soundly
- Gratitude activates the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system, also called the relaxation response. It’s been shown to reduce the time needed to fall asleep, increase both the quality of sleep and the duration.
- Watch Your Blood Pressure Drop
- A regular gratitude practice has been shown to reduce heart inflammation, improve heart rhythm, and promote lower blood pressure and steady blood sugar levels in patients predisposed to heart disease.
Grateful Peoples is a 501c3 not-for-profit focused on bringing gratitude to the classroom and beyond. Our community has helped donate over 18,000 copies of our Gratitude Journal to schools across the U.S. and Canada where the teachers incorporate a daily mindfulness practice into their curriculum.