There is a collection of research that demonstrates that practicing gratitude contributes to your overall happiness. People who practice regular gratitude experience better health, improved resilience, and stronger relationships. It also sets the tone for all of your interactions and results in more positive communication overall.

In case you’re not convinced, below are some of the results of the research:

  • Gratitude improves physical health. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and report that they feel healthier overall than other people. (Personality and Individual Differences, 2012)
  • Gratitude improves psychological health. Practicing gratitude reduces the number of negative emotions we experience including anger, envy, resentment, regret, and even depression. (multiple studies by Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D.) 
  • Gratitude helps you sleep better and longer. (study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 2012)
  • Gratitude improves your self-esteem. Not only does gratitude improve your self-esteem but it also helps you perform better. (study published in Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 2014)

Since gratitude isn’t generally an automatic response, we need to consciously learn how to make practicing gratitude a habit. If you feel like you’re already the grateful type, you can still improve with practice.

To help you improve your gratitude habit, here’s my Gratitude Challenge for you this week:

For at least 1 week choose one of the following items to practice every day.

1. Make a Top 10 Gratitude List

Write down everything that comes to mind that you’re thankful for in your everyday life. Then, narrow your list down to your “Top 10.” Place the list on your mirror, or hang it somewhere where you will see it every morning.

2. Pause to Appreciate

When you shift your focus towards the positive parts of your day, it trains your brain to shift away from focusing on your stress or the negative parts of your day. Take a photo each day of something that you appreciate. For example, something that makes you laugh or makes you feel lucky and loved. At the end of the week, look at all of the photos together.

3. Stay in the Moment

Focus on being present in what’s going on right now in your life. Stay away from future tripping (I’ll be happy when . . . .)  When you catch yourself thinking about how something will be better in the future, stop and reframe your thoughts to what you are thankful for today.

4. Recap Daily

Spend 10 minutes before you go to bed writing down everything that you are thankful for in a journal. 

I know that during your personal Gratitude Challenge this week, you’ll notice small changes that will make a huge difference in your life and those around you. And, THAT’S something to be grateful for.

Betty Lochner is a human resources consultant, business coach, and expert in workplace communications. She is the author of two books on communication, and a newly published journal, Intentional Gratitude.

For individual communication and career coaching, schedule a free 30-minute consultation with me today. Each coaching program can be custom tailored to your specific needs and goals including personal communication to career development to becoming a better team leader or mentor.