Substantial research demonstrates that being proactively thankful for the good things we already have—as opposed to focusing on what we lack or have lost—can improve your health, career, relationships and daily moods. Being grateful could even make you more successful and able to achieve your goals. There is almost no area in life of your life that can’t be improved by practicing sincere and regular gratitude. 

Will make you healthier 

A grateful, optimistic attitude has been linked to all around better and more robust health. These findings are partly due to the fact that a grateful orientation boosts immunity and thankful people have been shown to recover more quickly from serious health conditions such as heart attacks, HIV and cancer. Grateful people also experience lower stress levels and are less likely to be depressed. Someone who is grateful for their health is also more likely to take care of it, including eating a healthier diet, getting regular sleep and exercise and scheduling preventative healthcare. 

Creates a record of the positive things in your life 

Keeping a gratitude journal is a way to create a tangible record of the people and experiences you value most in life. This method of “counting blessings” has been shown to boost feelings of wellbeing, especially when compared to people who journal about the things that irritated or annoyed them. Writing down good things increases the potential benefits and gives you a long list of the wonderful things in your life when you need a mood booster or reminder. 

Encourages mindfulness

A regular spoken or written gratitude practice encourages a state of mindfulness as you practice noting and remembering the things that you appreciate in your life. This habit of noticing and savoring the good things has been shown to increase enjoyment and reduce negative emotions. If you need more inspiration, researchers have shown that regular gratitude practice can enhance happiness levels by a whopping 25% or more.  

Will help you achieve your goals 

Research shows a regular gratitude practice encourages greater optimism for the future, which inspires a mindset that can help you overcome difficulties in the present. Practicing this “find the silver lining” approach can help you learn to extract enjoyment from even challenging situations, increasing your determination, grit and likelihood of achieving your dreams. Being grateful for the present moment, excited for the future and in a stable, positive mood is the ideal mindset for tackling even the most difficult of challenges. 

Can help neutralize negative emotions 

A regular gratitude practice can help push out or neutralize negative emotions such as jealousy, anger, greed, or bitterness. Focusing on the positive things in your life can also reduce rumination and feelings of powerlessness. Gratitude stamps out these negative feelings by helping us to focus on what we do have, instead of what we lack. Indeed, grateful people regularly report a greater capacity to feel loved, which may indicate that the practice of appreciating is one of the keys to maintaining healthy, loving relationships. 

Reduces feelings of loneliness

An active gratitude practice has the potential to combat the growing problems of loneliness and social isolation. Part of the reason for this benefit, is that being grateful encourages you to focus on your positive connections with others, instead of highlighting what is lacking. Additionally, sharing your gratitude practice with others—by letting them know why you appreciate them—can  help you feel more socially connected and supported. Being grateful also encourages feelings of overall wellbeing and happiness, which make you more likely to be social as well as pleasant to be around. 

Makes you a better friend, family and community member

Being grateful promotes prosocial feelings of goodwill and discourages taking others for granted. When you communicate how much you appreciate and value others you are telling them —as well as reminding yourself—of their value in your life. Research shows that the more we consciously value others the likelier we are to treat them well and spend time with them. Being grateful has also been shown to promote relationship formation and durability, so an attitude of gratitude can help you make more friends, as well as feeling closer to the ones you already have. 

What is your favorite way to show appreciation?