So, we’ve turned the page on another year and we have a blank page in front of us. At this time of year the glow of gratitude fills the air, we’ve been giving and receiving gifts and our conditioned gratitude comes naturally. It’s in our programming and we don’t even have to think about it.
We all know how good we feel when we receive gratitude it makes us feel warm inside, it validates our own behaviour. Let’s make the world a more positive place by not just showing gratitude on a yearly basis, but by making it a part of our daily routine, because gratitude doesn’t just benefit the recipient it also has a significant effect on the giver of gratitude.
I would like to spend some time talking about the healing effects of giving gratitude. Studies now show that expressing gratitude releases a variety of psychological, social, and physical gains that promote our psychosocial and physiologic health. Let’s take a closer look at gratitude and the glow of good it offers.
According to Patrick Fitzgerald, there are three distinct sections of gratitude that define the process of its expression:
- A warm sense of appreciation for something or somebody
- A sense of goodwill towards that thing or person
- A resulting motivation to act positively because of that feeling of appreciation
Studies have shown that showing gratitude plays a significant role in a person’s sense of well-being. This effect on our well-being is a unique feeling that cannot be attained from anywhere else!
In addition to enhancing one’s general sense of well-being, those who engage in practicing gratitude report significantly greater happiness, optimism, and satisfaction with their lives, greater progress in attaining important life goals, higher frequency of feeling loved, and lower reported incidence of stress and depression compared to those who focus neutral or negative aspects.
Expressing gratitude makes us happier as individuals. Other studies have shown that reflecting on how fortunate we are on a regular basis is connected to how happy we are. Gratitude can increase our own happiness levels by up to 25%, This boost of happiness isn’t fleeting either, gratitude can sustain and increase our happiness levels for months at a time!
When we look at the link between gratitude and our own mental well-being it’s not a surprise that research shows that gratitude is also linked to optimism, contentment and satisfaction. When we express gratitude and focus on the positive aspects of life, we are able to take more happiness from our current situations.
Being optimistic can help us to recovery from illness more quickly, can also reduce our stress levels. People who show gratitude are also better at achieving personal goals. They also feel more loved themselves.
In addition to the positive effect of gratitude on our own mental health, it also has an effect on our social health. Gratitude builds and strengthens social bonds, friendships, and social supports.
Gratitude helps us to strengthen our relationships and even build new ones!
Gratitude can also have a significant effect on our physical health. Grateful people are more likely to take better care of themselves, with more exercise and better diet. gratitude also seems to bring higher levels of alertness, vitality, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness, and energy!
Reports also show grateful people have better sleep patterns.
Meaningful expressions of gratitude go further than the conditioned ‘thank-you’s following miniscule acts on our behalf such as holding a door open or delivering our mocha latte. Rather, the warm sense of appreciation that Patrick Fitzgerald cited as the first component of gratitude, demands an investment of our time to reflect on the gain received, to consider what it means to us, savor its influence, and recognize its source.
A great way to invest some time and reflect on the help we have received from others is by using the TAP App to send a message of thanks to someone who truly deserves it.
Let’s try to hold onto that warm glow that emanates when you express gratitude. Rather than allowing that glow to evaporate, keep regenerating it throughout the year and distributing it as often as you can to those who mean the most to you.
Liz Williams from the Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Social Care Partnership says:
Why would you want to work with boxes, when you could work with people?
With no disrespect meant to our cherished key workers in the distribution sector, working in care, with real people gives us the opportunity to spread positivity through the power of gratitude towards others and also benefit our own mental social and physical health.
To hear more from Liz Williams talking about the positive benefits of working with people in social care, listen to TAP’s Social Care Radio Show.