Thanksgiving isn't the only time you should practice gratitude. However, many studies have found there are many benefits in making gratitude a year-round habit. To enjoy the many mental and physical benefits of gratitude all it takes is a little bit of introspection.
Here are five surprising benefits you can gain from developing an attitude of gratitude.
Benefit #1 More Patience
Researchers at Northeastern University have found that people who felt grateful for the little everyday things in their lives were more patient and better able to make sensible decisions, compared to those who didn't feel thankful on a daily basis.
Benefit #2 Improved Relationships
Feeling grateful toward your partner, and vice versa can improve numerous aspects of your relationship, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Theoretical Social Psychology. This includes stronger feelings of connectedness and overall satisfaction as a couple. Being grateful for each other can significantly help your love life.
Benefit #3 Improved Sleep
Feeling grateful can help you sleep better and for longer. This is most likely because you have more positive thoughts before you go to sleep, which can help to soothe the nervous system. If you are going to make a daily gratitude list, or keep a gratitude journal, studies have shown that it is best to do this right before bed.
Benefit #4 Eases Depression
Gratitude is powerful. Recent studies have shown that by practicing the "three good things" exercise daily, you can see considerable improvements in depression and overall happiness, sometimes in as little as a few weeks. The activity prompts you to think of three good things or moments that happened during the day.
Benefit #5 Gives You Happiness that Lasts
Numerous things can give you a boost of happiness, from a compliment to a sugary treat. Unfortunately, these kinds of instant gratification can quickly disappear and leave you craving more. Gratitude, on the other hand, is something that can lead to a much more sustainable form of happiness because it isn't based in that immediate gratification, but rather a state of mind.
If you take the time to regularly express gratitude and thankfulness for the things in your life, you are more than likely to see long-lasting happiness. Gratitude doesn't take a lot of fancy equipment to practice, but can significantly change your life. By taking just a few minutes a day to show your thanks can have substantial benefits on both your mental and physical health.