Thankfulness & Gratitude

The more thankful I became, the more my bounty increased. That’s because – for sure – what you focus on expands. When you focus on the goodness in life, you create more of it.” -Oprah Winfrey

Every year at Thanksgiving, we are reminded to give thanks for the things in life that we are grateful for. But what if we resolved to set a time aside every day to deliberately pause to reflect and count our blessings?

Because, gratitude puts situations into perspective. When we can see the good, it becomes difficult to complain. Gratitude helps us realize what we have. Gratitude helps us see the beauty in life. Gratitude makes us happier, strengthens relationships, improves health, reduces stress and in general, makes us happier.

Researchers have discovered that gratitude has some incredible benefits and that a daily practice literally rewires the brain and body for health and joy.

Here are seven scientifically proven benefits of gratitude.

1. Gratitude opens the door to more relationships. Showing appreciation can help you win new friends. Saying thank you, sharing a smile with a stranger or acknowledging a colleague’s hard work and other people’s contributions to your life can lead to new opportunities.

2. Gratitude improves physical health. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains. Not surprisingly, grateful people are also more motivated and likely to take care of their health. They exercise more often and are more likely to attend regular check-ups, which is likely to contribute to further longevity.

3. Gratitude improves psychological health. Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.

4. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression. Grateful people are more likely to behave in a positive manner, experience more sensitivity and empathy toward others, even when others may behave less kindly.

5. Grateful people sleep better. Writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep. Spend just 15 minutes jotting down a few grateful sentiments before bed, and you may sleep better and longer. (Check out Mommy Minute for our featured Gratitude app.)

6. Gratitude improves self-esteem and reduces social comparisons because grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments.

7. Gratitude increases mental strength. For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma. Recognizing all that you have to be thankful for, even during the worst times, fosters resilience.

Enjoy this issue of Augusta Family as we roll into the holiday season and remember to count all of your blessings, however big or small.

Until December,

Renee Williams
renee.williams@augustafamily.com

This article appears in the November 2018 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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