Being Thankful: Gratitude Benefits Your Health and Relationships

being thankful
Being thankful can give inner happiness.

Being thankful; it’s something we struggle with as people. How do we show appreciation, have gratitude, even when the chips are down? It’s important to teach the benefits of being thankful to our kids as well. Gratitude is a very huge part of the Christian faith.

There are many Biblical verses devoted to showing gratitude toward God and each other. But did you know that being thankful can also have powerful physical benefits? It will improve relationships, too.

Being thankful for what you have will make you content and fill your life with happiness.
For one, it’s possible to combat depression with a little gratitude.

“People can become suspicious when you tell them that they can change their lives with a simple shift in perspective; it can seem too good to be true because it’s an uncomplicated answer to many of life’s challenges. But I’m just one of many who have experienced a measurable life change with gratitude,” says Vermeeren.

Vermeeren’s film, The Gratitude Experiment shows how gratitude positively changed different people’s lives.

Benefits of Being Thankful:

Being thankful: a theme in the movie "The Gratitude Experiment"
Being thankful, “The Gratitude Experiment”

Three areas in life can be positively transformed with the power of gratitude: your attitude, your health, and your relationships with others.

There’s a lot of research to prove that this chosen attitude is healthful. Author and researcher Dr. Robert Emmons, a University of California, Davis professor, found that people who view life as a gift and consciously acquire an “attitude of gratitude” experience multiple advantages.

“Without gratitude, life can be lonely, depressing and impoverished,” said Emmons. “Gratitude enriches human life. It elevates, energizes, inspires and transforms. People are moved, opened and humbled through expressions of gratitude.”

Attitude:

Gratitude can help us overcome any problem or hardship. It gives us perspective on what’s important, what we truly value and what we have right in front of us.

No matter what situation we’re in, we can always be grateful for our own life. We can appreciate this life and give thanks for everything we do have.  Part of this act of appreciation means sharing with one another what we’re grateful for.

Health:

The positive thinking triggered by our gratitude has proven health benefits:

  • Gratitude strengthens your immune system.
  • Gratitude reduces your stress levels.
  • Gratitude combats depression.
  • Gratitude lowers your risk of heart disease.
  • Gratitude helps you cope with tragedy.

Relationships:

One of the most defining characteristics of the human race is our social nature. We are hardwired to work, communicate and interact with each other. Most of us understand the value of being there for each other, especially during hard times. However, research from the University of California-Santa Barbara shows that it’s also crucial to be proactively positive during normal or good times, as well.

Positive reinforcement during good times reinforces your relationships with each other. Try this with your spouse or your children tonight. When you get a little help from them, get excited about it. Show some genuine gratitude. And it will make them want to be there for you in a pinch when the time comes. You’ll bond better. You’ll grow happier with each other, and your family will thrive.

“Embrace the good stuff not only in your life, but also in the lives of others,” Vermeeren says.

4 Easy Ways of Being Thankful and Showing Gratitude:

  • Every day write down something you are thankful for.
  • Learn prayers of gratitude and say them.
  • Hang pictures of what you are thankful for in your home, and look at them daily.
  • Tell someone you love how grateful you are for them.
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