Why Being Thankful is Good for You

So it’s Monday. And it’s raining. You spilled coffee on your cell phone. In short, this day is looking pretty bleak. So you may want to take your wet cell phone and send a snarky text message to a significant other, but we want you to consider a different approach. Being grateful is good for you.

Did you know gratitude can make you live longer? We know intellectually that we should be grateful, but for some of us, that only happens for a minute or two on Thanksgiving. Everyday life is messy and annoying, and often overshadows our intentions to count our blessings. So let’s think about why we should feel grateful, even if it isn’t on Thanksgiving, looking at our carb-heavy plate.

Shutterstock/Nikolai Sergeev

When you genuinely appreciate the good things and people in your life, it’s good for your health, and the health of those around you. Grateful people are more sensitive and empathetic toward those around them, and don’t have a strong desire to seek revenge. Even if things are feeling dark and lonely, finding the good in life can remind you of brighter days to come. In fact, if you consciously focus on the good in life, the dark spaces seem to fade away.

Okay, you’ve got my attention. Prove it.

Gratitude Reduces Your Stress and Improves Mental Stability

A study of Vietnam War veterans from the National Institutes of Health found those with higher levels of gratitude experience a lower incidence of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.) Being grateful can help you weather life’s storms.

Gratitude Improves Your Relationships

If you want to relight the fire in your relationship, tell your partner why you are grateful they are in your life. People who take the time to express gratitude felt more positively toward them and more comfortable expressing any concerns about the relationship. According to a study by the NIH, both men and women who have grateful partners felt more connected to their relationship, and more satisfied with it. Sounds like a win-win.

Being Grateful Helps Your Heart

Having a grateful heart actually helps your heart. Researchers say appreciation and positive emotions literally protect your heart from disease. Studies on optimism show being grateful can reduce your blood pressure, therefore reducing your risk of hypertension and congestive heart failure.

Being Grateful Helps You Sleep Better

Yep, it’s true. The more gratitude you feel, the better night’s sleep you will enjoy. Writing in a gratitude journal for 15 minutes before going to bed was shown in studies to help students worry less and sleep longer and better. Researchers explain that when falling asleep, grateful people are less likely to think negative or worrisome thoughts that impair your shut eye. So be grateful, and catch those Zzzzzzz’s.

Another Reason to Tell Your Employees ‘Thank You’

Everyone likes to feel appreciated. Whether you are climbing the corporate ladder, a student, a CEO, we all need to feel the love every now and then. One study showed employees who are thanked by their managers are more motivated to work harder. Students earn higher GPA’s and have better social skills when they feel appreciated. A little ‘thanks’ can go a long way.

Shutterstock/Syda Productions

Psychologists say the best way to get out of a funk is to help someone else. That sounds like great advice to us. So we’ve put together a list of volunteers opportunities from OneOC.

  • Yoga instructor for seniors
  • Video Editor
  • Volunteer Reader
  • Grocery Rescue Driver
  • Math or English tutor
  • Habitat for Humanity Volunteer
  • School Pantry Volunteer
  • Spanish-speaking Support Group Volunteer
  • Adult Literacy Tutor

At The Kovacs Connection, we are grateful for your friendship, and grateful for living in this wonderful part of the US. So this year, rather than consolidating all your thankful thoughts into one holiday, consider Thanksgiving an opportunity to start incorporating gratitude into your life… every day.