The 11 Benefits of Gratitude and How to Practice it Daily

benefits of gratitude self help for life

There are so many benefits of gratitude.  It’s wonderful for your body, mind, and spirit.  In this article, I’m going to cover the benefits of gratitude in detail.  This will give you the motivation to start becoming more grateful for what is already working in your life.

Practising gratitude is also a wonderful way to improve how you feel instantly.  To feel happier and more fulfilled.  It’s fun to do and I cover 4 very easy and effective ways to incorporate the practice of gratitude into your life.

To make the most of the benefits of gratitude, I recommend that you practice being grateful for a few minutes every day.

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What are the Benefits of Gratitude?

Gratitude makes you feel good and this improves your mental and physical health. Have you noticed that when you achieve or gain something (for example a new car), you feel excited, happy and grateful, but the feeling doesn’t last. It soon becomes a normal experience.

When you focus all your attention on achieving more, this creates a habit or pattern of taking things for granted, because you’re focusing on what you don’t have.

Achieving is a good thing, but you want to do it in a way that makes you feel happy and fulfilled at the same time.  Why do you want to achieve something in the first place? – My guess is that it’s probably to experience some kind of emotion such as happiness, fulfillment or satisfaction.  However, you can have these emotions now without having those things.

I’ve also found that if you focus too much on wanting to achieve something, this gives an energetic message to the universe that says “I want that”.  However, the feeling of wanting is different from having.  Wanting something means that you don’t have it yet and that is a different feeling that the universe picks up on.

By practicing gratitude, you focus on what you already have.  This sends the message of “having” to the universe.

So let’s look at some of the benefits of practicing gratitude.

1. Improves Physical Health

People that practice gratitude daily have fewer aches and pains. They look after themselves better and exercise more often. They have lower blood pressure, live longer and have more energy.

2. Improves Sleep

Practicing gratitude regularly helps you sleep better by sleeping for longer and getting deeper, restorative sleep. When you worry about things before you go to sleep, the level of stress in your body increases and that reduces your sleep quality.

If you practice gratitude instead by focussing on what you already have and what’s going well in your life, then this initiates the relaxation response. Your body can then relax and you’ll sleep much better.

Before you go to sleep tonight, I invite you to do the following:

  • Think about three things that went well today.
  • Think about three things that I’m grateful for.

3. Reduces Stress

As mentioned above, being grateful induces the relaxation response. This then lowers the level of cortisol (the stress hormone) in your body.  Lower levels of cortisol mean you feel more relaxed.

4. Improves your Mental Health

One of the other benefits of gratitude is a lower chance of becoming depressed or developing other mental illnesses.  Think of being grateful as fitness for the mind.

5. Enhanced Self Esteem

Being grateful improves your levels of self esteem. You have less resentment towards other people that appear to be doing better than you.  Instead, you appreciate their accomplishments. You’re less likely to compare yourself with other people and have greater satisfaction in your life as well.

6. More Resilience

Practising gratitude improves your resilience and mental strength. A study measuring post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Vietnam War veterans found that people that were more grateful during the war and afterwards generally had fewer symptoms of PTSD. A study undertaken after the 9/11 attacks found that people that were more grateful of what they had before the attacks seemed to deal better in the aftermath of the attacks.

7. Changes Memories

Practising gratitude helps you to change past memories. Your memories are not set in stone. They’re not like files in a computer where the information stored never changes. Memories can and do change over time. You may remember things as better or worse than they really were. The people in that memory may have been kinder or crueller. Gratitude increases the chances of remembering those things in a more positive way. It can also help you gain closure from upsetting memories.

8. Improves your Emotional Wellbeing

Being grateful helps reduce many negative emotions such as frustration, anger, regret, envy, aggression, revenge and resentment. It also helps increase your level of happiness. Practising gratitude makes you feel good, which in itself is a great reason to practise it.

9. Better Relationships and Social Life

One of the other benefits of gratitude is improved relationships and social life.  When you feel grateful, people will like you more, you will come across as more trusting. You will be more social and appreciative. You will have more friends, deeper friendships and a better relationship with your partner as well.

10.  More Career or Business Success

When you feel good about yourself and grateful for what you already have, you will be more productive and make better decisions. You will be more positive, solution focussed and find it easier to get results through other people.

11. Better Manifesting

Practising gratitude helps you to focus on the positive (the things you already have), rather than the negative (what you don’t have). When manifesting, it’s so important to focus on what you do want. A great way to do this is to focus on what you want AND what you already have. This helps you get the feeling of having what you want NOW.

How to practice gratitude on a daily basis

Hopefully, you’re now sold on the benefits of gratitude, so I’ll now cover a few quick ways to do this.

Gratitude Journal

A gratitude journal is simply writing down the things that you are grateful for. Things you might include could be your body, physical & mental health, family & friends or books & resources that you’ve benefited from. It could also be happy memories from the past or even small things like your heart beating consistently every day, or having running water and electricity.

Gratitude Questions

Ask yourself the following questions

  • What am I grateful for in my life?
  • What am I proud of in my life?
  • What do I love about my life?
  • What made today great?
  • What was good about today?

Notice what comes up when you ask these questions.  Gratitude questions are powerful because it focuses your mind on answering the question and this will lead to more things that you are grateful for.

Gratitude Bucket List

You probably already have a bucket list for holiday destinations, experiences and people you would like to meet. What about having a gratitude bucket list? Think of all those things that you have already achieved, the places you’ve already visited, the people that you’ve already met, Create a gratitude bucket list of all the things you’ve already achieved.

Showing Appreciation to Others

What can you do that will brighten up someone else’s day?  How could you show gratitude or appreciation for something that someone else has done? You can show your gratitude and appreciation face to face, via text message, email or on social media.

As you can see, there are lots of great benefits of gratitude. I hope this convinces you that it’s worth practicing being grateful on a daily basis. Best time is first thing in the morning when you get up and just before going to bed.

However, practicing being grateful throughout the day is great as well. It will make you feel better about yourself and happier too. It will balance your life as you’ll be focusing on things you already have, as well as focusing on the things you want.

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11 replies
  1. Spiritual minion says:

    Ohhh wow
    I really enjoyed reading this
    Since I started doing a daily practice of gratitude I have found it beneficial in all aspects of my life
    My only downside is that my physical health issues can impact and I start sinking into a dark place
    But in recent times I don’t stay there for as long because of my daily practices
    Thank you so much for sharing
    Namaste ? ? ? ? ?

  2. Paul Thomas says:

    It’s great to hear that the daily practice of gratitude is working well for you. I’m sure that if you continue to persevere then you’re physical health will start to change for the better as well.

  3. Spiritual minion says:

    Thank you for taking the time to reply
    I live in hope that it does and just try not to dwell too long in the dark place when I am having a bad day

  4. Phillis Stein says:

    I was fortunate to learn about gratitude during an excellent course my employer once paid for me to do – positive psychology basically with Martin Zeligman and his marvellous team (here in Australia). It was a week-long intensive residential course that focussed on resilience, self-awareness and so much more. This is one of the practices recommended for us to do each day prior to sleep. It felt a little awkward at first, but after a few days of doing it consistently you soon get into it and realize that you have SO much to be grateful for. This was the best course I ever attended and I reckon I could have literally taken flight by the end of it – to the point that I felt moved to ground myself by doing a few handstands on that last night (no, I was the ONLY one not drinking alcohol – I was on a natural high that was so powerful I felt as if I may have levitated and never come back down to Earth afterwards – hence the handstands). I have actually kept this practice ever since (many years) and I love it and feel it to be extremely beneficial in my life.

    This article also reminds me of Dr Emoto’s water experiments – where he wrote words or projected different thoughts towards viles of water and then quick-froze them to reveal the crystals that formed as a result. There were amazing pictures of streams before and after blessings, then there were the differences when different types of music were played to the water, and the obvious one which was love and hate. However, what struck me was that although the crystal that formed after the word LOVE was taped to the vile was beautiful (as opposed to the crystal that formed for the word HATE), what really stood out to me was that the most perfectly symmetrical and beautiful crystal of all was related to the word GRATITUDE. I encourage you to check this out if you haven’t seen it. Music-wise, I was not surprised to see that one of the most beautiful crystals that formed in that section was when John Lennon’s song “Imagine” was played.

    Says it all really! Especially when we consider that our own bodies are made up of over 70% water – imagine what these thoughts, words and actions are doing to us? This reminds us that our thoughts, our words and our actions are intricately connected with our ensuing reality – so best to keep them as positive as possible IMO.

    Thank you for writing this extremely important article on gratitude, I am very GRATEFUL! :-)

  5. Paul Thomas says:

    Hi Phillis,

    Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful experiences with the practice of gratitude. What a wonderful course you did with Martin Zeligman! – Sounds like you made many powerful transformations. It’s awesome that you have kept up your practice of gratitude. Its so important to reducing anxiety, boosting confidence and generally feeling good about yourself.

    I found some articles on Dr Emoto’s water experiments. These are very interesting. I’ve come across similar experiments with plants where uplifting positive music increased plant growth, whilst negative and aggressive music had the opposite effect.

    It’s so lovely to hear your wonderful feedback and I am very grateful to you for taking the time to share your experiences of gratitude and this marvellous course with me. Hopefully, he will do it again in Australia sometime!

  6. Phillis Stein says:

    Martin was head of the American Psychiatric Association, from memory, and he founded the new arm of psychology termed “Positive Psychology.” I think this is much needed in today’s world and I wept tears of joy when I realized what it was he was trying to create with this. This should be taught in EVERY school as far as I’m concerned, because part of it was about how to build resilience. It was absolutely the best course I have ever experienced and I was very fortunate to be selected (up to 6,000 could apply, but only 100 got to win a place) for it. This just gives me yet another thing to be grateful for!

    My understanding was that he was going to try to get the University course running here and that he was talking with Uni’s in Melbourne. At the time, the course was only available if you went to study it in the US, which I did not wish to do, because that is one place I NEVER wish to go to, sadly.

    There is so much negativity shoved into our faces every day (especially if you watch or read mainstream media – which I don’t, because I choose not to buy into the ‘fear porn’) that gratitude practices help us to remember that there are many, many positive things in this world for which we can be grateful.

    Thank you for sharing your article with us too! :-)

  7. Paul Thomas says:

    Hi Phillis, thanks for your extra information on Martin Zeligman. Avoiding the news is a great idea and I often recommend that to people. There is so many wonderful things happening in the world that never make the news! Glad you enjoyed this article.

  8. K&W Dietitians “Foodie and a C says:

    Hi Paul
    I see this discuss board is oldro but I’m just getting to the SHFL website after catching up on your podcast through Spotify.

    I am just 2weeks into consistent journaling but so far it’s going well. Each weekday I have chosen a specific podcast to center my journal activity around to better tailor the areas of my focus. This is today’s topic and I decided to come to the site for the 1st time to share. What ideas do you have about how to find yourself after you notice you have tried so hard to adjust to be someone you’re not? I miss me and so does my partner.<spoiler>

  9. Paul Thomas says:

    Great to hear that you found my podcast on Spotify. Journaling is a fantastic thing to do. Think of your real self as the core of an onion. All the other persona’s are like layers of the onion. Once you peel off those layers, the real self will come through again. To do this involves relaxing and letting go. Take a look at my podcast / blog post on the Sedona Method for help with letting go. I would also write down the qualities of the real you (I’m sure your partner can help you with this) and then focus on these qualities for a few minutes each day. This will start to retrain your brain to bring these qualities back into your life more often. I hope this helps. Keep up the good work! Paul

  10. K&W Dietitians “Foodie and a C says:

    Hi Paul,

    Thank you for the quick feedback. I will add this to my journaling activities each morning.

  11. M nasir abbasi says:

    Thanks for a wonderful n inspiring reminder I already know the power of gratitude n I practice it daily I am really happy to read this article thanks once again keep doing what u r doing n I have come to know about ur channel n I have subscribed God bless all of us

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