Why should we give thanks?
There are all sorts of reasons why we should all work at giving thanks. Ranging from health benefits, feeling good, and changing the world, expressions of gratitude go a long way in helping us live more fulfilling and positive lives. Personally, I find that giving thanks is something to be worked at.
I am very grateful for many things. But if I am being honest, I don’t express my gratitude to others nearly as often as I should. I don’t even express gratitude out loud to others even when it is what I am thinking in my mind. This is an area in which I know I can become better, and I bet I am not alone.
Let me start with this: I am grateful for you.
That felt great! And now, what benefits can we expect to achieve by giving thanks? Here is a list of some of the best benefits of gratitude.
#1 – Giving thanks is good for your heart
According to a University of California San Diego School of Medicine study, giving thanks helps ward off heart decease. By giving thanks, your mind releases stress, reduces anxiety and is less susceptible to depression. This one-two punch of positivity not only feels good to you and others, but research shows that expressions of gratitude can prolong your life.
#2 – Giving thanks makes the world a better place
Regardless of if you live longer or not, wouldn’t it be nice to live in a world full of gratitude rather than one void of it? I imagine that such a world would be a magical place where anything is possible. Here is a video which has a similar meaning and which is sure to brighten your day 🙂
#3 – Giving thanks is better than not
Not only would the world be more dull and depressing if there were no expressions of gratitude, people who don’t give thanks are more likely to be complainers and to see things more negatively.
We have all said, “I would be happy if…” That blank can be filled-in with “I had the new iPhone,” “I were a bit older/younger,” “I knew then what I knew today,” so on and so forth. The fact of the matter is that we people are always striving for the next rung on the ladder. That is not a bad thing. That is what drives us forward and keeps us fighting for a better tomorrow.
However, looking toward tomorrow should not distract from your good fortunes of today. When was the last time you said “I would be happy if…” and then you actually were happy when you obtained the thing? And was that a thing or an experience? I argue that lifelong happiness is made by experiences, and no matter what we strive to accomplish tomorrow, we should be grateful for what we have today.
Further reading: The Secret To All My Success
#4 – Giving thanks increases peoples’ trust in you
According to one research paper from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, people who express gratitude are perceived as more trustworthy by others. Wouldn’t you like for people to trust you more than they already do? Become more conscious in your expressions of gratitude and enjoy the benefits of others holding you in higher esteem.
#5 – Giving thanks feels good
Imagine telling someone that you are thankful for them or for something they did. What would their response be? Would they frown at you and shrug their shoulders? Or would they smile, say “thank you” and possibly give you a hug? When we give thanks to others, we create joy which is shared by all involved, especially you.
A challenge for giving thanks
I bet you already have tons to be thankful for. But I also bet you haven’t thought about gratitude in a conscious way for a while. So how about now? I challenge you to write 100 things that you are thankful for. If you use this list as a guide, I am confident you will quickly discover that 100 is far too short of a list!
Write a list of…
- 10 living people you are grateful for.
- 10 people who have died you are grateful for.
- 10 physical abilities you are grateful for.
- 10 material possessions you are grateful for.
- 10 things about nature you are grateful for.
- 10 things about today you are grateful for.
- 10 places on earth you are grateful for.
- 10 modern-day inventions you are grateful for.
- 10 foods you are grateful for.
- 10 things about your community you are grateful for.
So how did it go? How do you feel now? Can you turn this list into action by telling anyone, or even things on this list that you are thankful for them? Try it. Tell that friend how thankful you are. Tell your phone how thankful you are. And if you are really adventurous, leave a comment below to let the world know something you are thankful for!