This isn’t the year we expected, yet that doesn’t mean 2020 was a total bust. In this season of gratitude, digging deep and looking for the good can not only improve your mood, it can pave the way for even more good in your life. Who doesn’t want that?
By practicing gratitude now, you can cultivate a year-round habit with surprising benefits. Even on the most difficult of days, we bet there’s something you can appreciate for its presence in your life.
Pam Grout, author of Thank and Grow Rich: A 30-Day Experiment in Shameless Gratitude and Unabashed Joy, says that “Gratitude is causative energy. It plants seeds that grow into unlimited abundance.” You read that right–gratitude isn’t just a feel good practice. Grout argues that increase several types of capital–financial, spiritual, social, and even adventure capital.
Here are 7 ways that gratitude can have a positive effect on your life.
1. Practicing Gratitude Can Increase Productivity
With a habit of gratitude, you can actually rewire your brain to be more productive. The renowned positive psychologist, Shawn Achor, uses a daily habit like gratitude to help others better their lives. The more his clients practice this, the more their thinking and behavior reflects the good they see (and they find more to be grateful for).
His research has shown results such as:
- 37% increase in productivity
- 37% sales increase
- 19% more accuracy accomplishing tasks
- 23% of participants reported more energy when facing stress
- Employees are 40% more likely to be promoted
Regardless of who he studied–salespeople, students, US citizens, or people abroad–he found that they all benefited from gratitude.
2. You Reflect Your Mindset–So Choose Gratitude
You’re always a reflection of your mindset, whether you know it. And the truth is that people want to do business with people who are happy and grateful. Think about it: how likely are you to do business with someone who is constantly griping? Imagine you’re shopping, but the owner continues to vocalize their shortcomings or fears. You’re probably going to feel awkward, maybe even want to leave. Even if you make a purchase, will you seek that shop out again?
Airing your grievances, being overprotective of your ideas, and operating from a place of scarcity can all create a toxic environment. On the flip side, people love frequenting businesses that show gratitude and celebrate their customers and their businesses. In return, they experience less turnover and greater loyalty. Be a good steward of your mindset, and you’ll find that people are attracted to you like a magnet!
3. Gratitude Shifts Your Focus
We’ve touched on this a few times, so let’s dig deeper. Gratitude allows you to focus on what you have, not what you’re missing. It’s all too easy to let your problems take over, which can keep you down. Yet gratitude can set you up for future success, regardless of your situation.
Gratitude can make you more optimistic. It can improve relationships and make you feel more secure. These elements are the secret to financial success, health, happiness and longevity In fact, according to the authors of Picture Your Prosperity, Ellen Rogin and Lisa Kueng, grateful people are less likely to purchase frivolous things. How much more could you save if you didn’t feel the need for retail therapy?
The bottom line? It doesn’t matter how much you have, if you don’t appreciate it. You won’t feel successful or satisfied, even if all signs say otherwise. There will always be a void to fill unless you begin practicing gratitude.
4. Practising Gratitude Pays Dividends
In her book Path to Wealth, May McCarthy describes how her own practice of gratitude led her to increased spiritual connection, prosperity, and a razor-sharp intuition. This is a person who has several successful businesses, so it’s good to take note.
In Berkeley’s Greater Good Magazine, the researcher Robert Emmons says that those who are habitually grateful:
- Are more helpful, generous and compassionate
- Forgive more easily (and thus release themselves from holding grudges)
- Experience more joy and pleasure
- Are less likely to feel isolated and lonely
- Have stronger immune systems
- Have fewer aches and pains
- Report lower blood pressure
- And get better sleep each night
5. Gratitude Makes Us Givers
When we appreciate what we have, we’re more generous. That’s because we aren’t operating in scarcity-mode, where we hoard what we have out of fear. And as Bob Burg points out in his parable The Go Giver, those who give the most become those who receive the most. Though giving feels good of its own merit.
Don’t get stuck thinking your only meaningful contributions are through big donations either. Community and volunteer service are practical ways to give back to your favorite organizations. Helping friends in need can improve your relationship. You can also look for “pay it forward” opportunities, like buying a stranger’s coffee.
How To Practice Gratitude
The best time to be grateful is when you’re not feeling it. Angry, have low energy, or feel stressed? Thinking about what you’re grateful for can pull you out of the muck. You can always fall back on the classics, like your family or your health, however make it as specific as possible. Why are you grateful in a particular moment? This helps to keep it fresh.
Think of gratitude as a muscle–with intentional use, it can grow and develop. No use at all, and that muscle can atrophy. If you don’t actively practice gratitude, it becomes harder to find things to appreciate about life.
We recommend incorporating gratitude into your daily routine. If you’re starting out, writing down your gratitude is a great way to stay accountable and remind yourself why you’re creating the habit.
Choose Gratitude Now
Don’t wait until life gets easier, or until you feel like being grateful–gratitude is the very thing that can get you there! Gratitude makes dealing with difficult things easier. It’s not a bandaid, it is a tool that strengthens your resolve and helps you maintain a Prosperity Mindset.
Ultimately, it’s a choice. One that we must make each and every day. We hope today and every day, you choose gratitude.