By: Colleen Weber
News and Updates
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With the end of the year and the holiday season upon us (especially Thanksgiving), I thought that it would be perfectly fitting to spend some time talking about gratitude. Sometimes we let the busyness of life, work, and all the other distractions out there get the best of us, causing us to completely forget about expressing gratitude to ourselves and others. In addition, we are so naturally inclined to think into the future, whether it be to obtain more “things,” achieve the next milestone, etc., that we never stop to be grateful for what we have in the present moment. My hope is that in reading on about the benefits of gratitude, you will adopt more of an “attitude of gratitude” in your daily life.
Gratitude Improves Your Emotional And Psychological Health
When you take the time to express gratitude to others or think about what you are grateful for, something really special happens to your well-being from an emotional and psychological perspective. If you fill your thoughts with gratitude, you have little space left for bitterness, envy, frustration, and other toxic emotions. According to Robert Emmons, one of the leading scientific experts on studying gratitude, there is a direct link between gratitude and well-being. (1) The research and studies that Emmons has done point to the conclusion that gratitude has the potential to increase happiness and reduce depression-related emotional states.
Gratitude Improves Self-Esteem
In a social media-filled world, it is easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to everyone else based on what you see on your social media feed. Even without social media, it is typical in our society to try to “keep up with the Joneses.” However, when you are able to live within a practice of gratitude, you are much less likely to fall into these traps. People that are more grateful for what they have are less likely to make social comparisons. (2) In addition, because grateful people have less resentment toward others, they are able to genuinely appreciate the accomplishments of others without taking a hit to their own self-confidence.
Gratitude Makes People Like Us
While sometimes overlooked, saying “thank you” and being appreciative toward others can still go a long way. Both have to do with being grateful, and many studies have shown that such behavior nudges others to like us and want to pursue an ongoing relationship. This is an important point to remember as we often come into contact with other people on a regular basis, whether it be our spouse, our children, someone at work, or a random stranger you meet on the street.
Take Action On Gratitude
There are many other benefits of gratitude, in addition to what has been described above, such as it improves your physical health, enhances your ability to be empathetic, improves sleeping patterns, improves mental health (stress, trauma, anxiety, etc.), helps you stay in the present, and makes you an overall better person. Finally, here are a few actions that you can take to help implement more gratitude into your daily life: (3)
- Write a thank-you note: This is an easy thing to do which allows you to show your appreciation for someone else.
- Thank someone mentally: While it sounds silly, you’d be surprised at how you feel after taking the time in your daily thoughts to simply thank another person for something they have done for you.
- Keep a gratitude journal: Writing down what you are grateful for is a daily practice that allows you to reflect on what you are thankful for.
- Count your blessings: Whether you write it down or just think mentally, counting your blessings is a great way to get into a mindset of gratitude.
- Pray and/or meditate: Take some “alone time” out of your day to pray and/or meditate on all of the things that you are grateful for.
When we take the time to be in a place of gratitude and reflect on all that we are truly grateful for, we start to realize what really matters in life. For most people, what ends up mattering are the people in our lives and the legacy that we want to leave for the next generation. If you’d like to start a conversation with me about how to get started, book a free introductory meeting online!
Colleen Weber is a fee-only financial advisor, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, and CPA with more than 15 years of financial planning experience. Providing comprehensive financial planning and wealth management, she specializes in serving clients nearing retirement, retirees, busy professionals, and women. She is passionate about developing financial plans that save clients on taxes, and investment strategies that help them pursue their goals. Learn more about Colleen by connecting with her on LinkedIn or booking a complimentary phone call meeting.