Speak Fluent Gratitude
In November each year, the United States celebrates Gratitude in November, recognized as National Gratitude Month. Thankfully, we see many people and organizations celebrate this in myriad ways. Many non-profits suggest increasing acts of charity to show gratitude. Schools and higher education organizations support a gratitude journaling practice to enhance student and teacher outcomes. Corporations offer employees opportunities to give back to the community and provide employee appreciation offerings. Managers share more positive feedback with direct reports. As it is said in Dr. Harry Cohen’s book, Be the Sun, Not the Salt, the research is clear: cultivating gratitude makes you and the people around you feel better.
There is a growing wealth of research on the benefits of acknowledging gratitude and on the mechanisms of how practicing gratitude succeeds in creating positive impact. From the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, we know that the practitioners of gratitude have:
• Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure
• Higher levels of positive emotions
• More joy, optimism, and happiness
• More generosity and compassion
• Less feelings of loneliness and isolation
This month and every month, we encourage you to intentionally acknowledge your gratitude to see what impacts you can make.
Be the Sun, Not the Salt is so grateful for all the studies done to help us all be more aware of the benefits of Gratitude. Today, in honor of National Gratitude Month, we share this article below from Greater Good Magazine on Why Practice Gratitude.
WHY PRACTICE IT?
Over the past 15 years, hundreds of studies have documented the social, physical, and psychological benefits of gratitude. The research suggests these benefits are available to most anyone who practices gratitude, even in the midst of adversity, such as elderly people confronting death, women with breast cancer, and people coping with a chronic muscular disease. Here are some of the top research-based reasons for practicing gratitude.
|Gratitude brings us happiness: Through research by Robert Emmons, happiness expert Sonja Lyubomirsky, and many other scientists, practicing gratitude has proven to be one of the most reliable methods for increasing happiness and life satisfaction; it also boosts feelings of optimism, joy, pleasure, enthusiasm, and other positive emotions.
|On the flip side, gratitude also reduces anxiety and depression and could be a helpful part of therapy. Research suggests it may help reduce depression among people with chronic disease.
|Gratitude is good for our bodies: Studies by Emmons and his colleague Michael McCullough suggest gratitude strengthens the immune system, lowers blood pressure, reduces symptoms of illness, and makes us less bothered by aches and pains. It also encourages us to exercise more and take better care of our health.
|Grateful people sleep better: They get more hours of sleep each night, spend less time awake before falling asleep, and feel more refreshed upon awakening. If you want to sleep more soundly, count blessings, not sheep.
|Gratitude makes us more resilient: It has been found to help people recover from traumatic events, including Vietnam War veterans with PTSD, victims of natural disasters, and people living under violent, political conflict.
|Gratitude strengthens relationships: It makes us feel closer and more committed to friends and romantic partners. When partners feel and express gratitude for each other, they each become more satisfied with their relationship. Gratitude may also encourage a more equitable division of labor between partners.
|For more: Read Emmons’ essay about “Why Gratitude is Good” and Giacomo Bono’s essay on “What We Still Don’t Know about Gratitude and Youth.”
SPEAK FLUENT GRATITUDE
Dr. Harry Cohen, author of Be The Sun, Not the Salt, says the upside is far greater than the downside and continuing this practice seems like a “no-brainer.” This month and every month, we encourage you to intentionally acknowledge your gratitude to see what impacts you can make. Will you join our challenge and let us know how it impacts your personal and work lives?