top of page

Why Gratitude is so important

Updated: Nov 26, 2021

The challenges we face are greater than ever, with a more complex and increasingly changing world context (covid, technology, political scene, conflicts, etc..). It is easy to fall in the trap of negativity and complain about all that happens or just see the world and the events life throws at us through a negative lens.

In such a context it is easy for our minds to focus on what does not work, what is not ok. The analytical people, the hyper-rational ones, can even find pride in finding faults, in looking at things from a "realistic" point of view and find complaints and things that are less than perfect and could be improved.

Nevertheless, there is one practice that can make us more resilient, mentally, emotionally, and even physically stronger and more resistant to adversity: gratitude. The science research shows impressive results in both psychological, emotional and even physical wellbeing related to a regular practice of gratitude.

Prof Robert Emmons PH.D., world's leading scientific expert on gratitude at University of California, has been studying the effects of gratitude on physical health, on psychological well-being, and on our relationships with others. The results are overwhelming.

The research done on gratitude looked at a large group of people, analysing their results in terms of serval items: wellbeing, mood, healthy habits (exercise, food..), personal interactions. In addition to the survey questions on the items above, some people in the group were asked to list 5 things they liked and were grateful for over the weeks, while others were asked to list 5 things they complained about.

The group who was complaining reported negative results in many areas analysed, mood, wellbeing, and even up to 45% less exercise for example.

Science shows that focusing on gratitude, counting our blessings, leads to a host of positive outcomes and overall increases our resilience:

- increased emotional health

- relational satisfaction

- increased physical wellbeing

People who count their blessings showed 23% lower levels of stress hormone (like cortisol for example), up to 25% reduction of dietary fat intake. People suffering from chronic pain showed 10% improvement in sleep quality and 19% lower depression levels. There’s even recent evidence, including a 2008 study by psychologist Alex Wood in the Journal of Research in Personality, showing that gratitude can reduce the frequency and duration of episodes of depression.

In contrast with complaining, focusing on gratitude makes us more prone to take action in order to fix what does not work. It helps us deal better with loss and trauma, deal better with everyday stress, suffering, pain and tribulations. Gratitude reinforces our psychological immune system. It switches our brain from the limbic system, where the stress responses are, to the more positive part of the brain, the more recent neo-cortex part, which enables us to feel more positive, relaxed, empathic and purpose driven.

One of the biggest effect of gratitude is that it connects us with other people, improving our relationships. Gratitude is defined as one of the interpersonal emotions. Thinking gratefully about a friend, colleague or partner makes us focus more and see their qualities, makes it easier to remember good memories with this person, and drives us to spend more time with them. All these mind shifts make us feel more connected.

One of the easiest ways of cultivating gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal. If you are not much of a writing person, it is good to frequently mentally list at least 5 things that you are grateful for, about others, events in your life and even yourself (traits of personality, things you said, done etc..).

What are the top 5 things you are grateful for today?

I definitely am grateful for:

  1. Being healthy

  2. Having my parents healthy and caring

  3. Having a supportive, athletic and adventurous husband

  4. Living in a beautiful house and green surroundings

  5. Being able to help others via coaching, mentoring, aromatherapy & Reiki healing

“Gratitude is the healthiest of all emotions” — Zig Ziglar

10 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page