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How many times a day do you casually thank people in your life? You may say some grateful words to the cashier at the grocery store, the stranger who holds the door for you, or your partner for cooking you dinner. But, even though you’re technically saying “thank you” a million (well, maybe more like 10) times a day—how often are you making gratitude a part of your daily practice? You may want to do so more frequently, because the benefits of gratitude are substantial.
The mental health benefits of gratitude
In a 2017 study, researchers asked participants to write letters of gratitude to others over a period of 12 weeks. These participants reported significantly better mental health after 12 weeks of letter-writing, compared to the control group. The plethora of gratitude journals available speaks to this. Writing down gratitude affirmations—whether to yourself or to someone else—can have a positive impact on your mental health.
Another study yielded similar results to the one conducted in 2017. Placed into three different groups, participants were asked to write down things they were grateful for, things that annoyed them, or things that had impacted them—on a regular basis. At the conclusion of the study, researchers found that those in the group asked to write about gratitude had a more positive outlook on their lives than participants in the other two groups.
How gratitude benefits your physical health
The list of benefits stemming from a gratitude practice is truly never-ending. In addition to the benefits for your mental health, gratitude practices can benefit your physical health. In one study, participants who kept a daily gratitude journal over a period of two months had lower levels of inflammatory hormones—and a lower heart rate during strenuous activities.
This means, that yes, that power sequence you’ve been struggling through can potentially become easier through a gratitude practice. (Crazy, I know.) This combination of physical, mental, and emotional benefits shows the power that a regular gratitude practice can have. Beyond just saying a passive thank you, thinking about what you’re truly grateful for can be life-changing.
Get started with these gratitude practices
The good news is that you can start (or expand) your gratitude practice right now. These meditations and flows will help you see the world more through rose-colored glasses (in a good way)—and your health will thank you for it.
Meditations for expressing gratitude
- 12-Minute Meditation for Finding Joy and Self-Gratitude Meditation
- “I Am Enough”: A Heart-Centered Meditation for Gratitude & Self-Love
- Practice Gratitude With a Gayatri Mantra