- It makes us much happier. A Benedictine monk, David Steindl-Rast has said: it is not joy that makes us grateful, it is gratitude that makes us joyful. When we become good at being grateful, we see and experience more of the good in life, no matter what our circumstances.
- It keeps us much healthier. Practising gratitude is associated with better sleep, less depression, and less stress. It reduces headaches, sore muscles, stomach pain, nausea, coughing, and sore throats. Those who practise gratitude report less illness, and generally feel healthier.
- It reduces negative emotions. Feelings like anger, bitterness, and resentment are incompatible with gratitude. The more gratitude we cultivate, the less negativity we feel.
- We cope better. Learning to see the good in our lives even when hard times come is a powerful coping strategy.
- It increases our self worth. Practising gratitude helps us get out of the ‘poor me’ mindset, and into the habit of looking for the good. It helps to reduce negative comparisons with other people, and pay more attention to what we have versus what we don’t.
- It increases life’s meaning. When we can see all the beautiful pieces of our lives, it’s a lot easier to see the greater whole. Cultivating a sense of gratitude helps life feel more meaningful. The more gratitude we express, the more life’s meaning will increase.
- It helps us enjoy our work more. People who practice gratitude can find the good in anything. This helps work feel more meaningful and enjoyable. It can help us find our life’s purpose.
- It improves our relationships. When we recognise and express gratitude to and for others, it helps us to feel more connected to them, and experience better relationships. We then feel less lonely and depressed, and more pleasant to be around.
- It improves our parenting skills. When we are able to cope better, feel better, and find more joy and meaning in life, we will be better parents. We will recognise the good in our children, express it to them, and that will improve their self worth, health, and happiness.