Gratitude contributes to a good life lived in dignity and in beauty. Scientifically, gratitude contributes to a flourishing life.
A life of flourishing and well-being consists of five elements: 1) Living with positive emotions; 2) engaging in activities and hobbies that make you forget about time, 3) good relationships, 4) activities that contribute to a meaningful life and 5) getting something done, that is, accomplishment.
Gratitude is part and parcel part of the first element, creating a life with positive emotions. The benefits of gratitude are available to anyone who practices gratitude, even during adversity, such as elderly people facing their last days, men and women with a life-threatening illness, and a parent trying to manage a delinquent teenager. Here are some reasons for practicing gratitude.
Gratitude brings us joy. Gratitude has proven to be one of the most reliable methods for increasing life satisfaction; it also boosts feelings of optimism and other positive emotions.
On the flip side, gratitude also reduces anxiety and depression.
Gratitude strengthens the immune system, lowers blood pressure, reduces symptoms of illness, and makes us less bothered by aches and pains. It also encourages us to exercise more and take better care of our health.
Grateful people sleep better: They get more hours of sleep each night, spend less time awake before falling asleep, and feel more refreshed upon awakening.
Gratitude makes us more resilient: It has been found to help people recover from traumatic events, including victims with Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder and people living under the daily threat of violent crime.
Gratitude strengthens relationships: It makes us feel closer and more committed to friends and romantic partners. When partners feel and express gratitude for each other, they each become more satisfied with their relationship. A husband expressing daily a sincere gratitude and appreciation of his dear wife will have playfulness and laughter in the bedroom…living with more gratitude the following days.
Grateful people are more helpful, altruistic, and compassionate—in other words, more pro-social.
One way to get into living in gratitude is to begin to write down three to five things that you consider blessings or good things that happened during the day. Do this daily just before bedtime. And add with each good thing why you think it happened. People who decide to better their positive emotions and keep this kind of journaling going can become “addicted” to it! It really contributes to flourishing.