I’ve always found Thanksgiving to be a funny holiday, and not for the reasons that you might think.
No, this isn’t another rant about American hostility towards indigenous people.
I’ve always found Thanksgiving to be funny because we live in a society where expressing gratitude for your life is relegated to a single day of the year.
It’s not “Thanksgiving Year” it’s Thanksgiving Day.
And what do we do with the other 364 days out of the year?
We whine, bitch, and moan about how hard life is, about how much stress we’re under, and about how busy we are.
As a society, we fill our lives with complaining and moaning about things that other people would literally kill for, and we are beginning to feel the effects of this attitude.
Negativity and fear permeate every area of our politics, media, and life, and the only question that I want to ask is, “Why?”
Tony Robbins says that “Gratitude is the antidote for fear. You cannot be grateful and fearful at the same time.” and, in the spirit of this quote and the holiday season, I wanted to leave you all with a short list of 10 reasons to practice gratitude daily… Not just on Turkey Day.
But before I get started, I want to mention something important.
None of the information I am about to share with you is my own opinion or anecdotal evidence. It’s based on more than 26 scholarly and peer-reviewed studies on gratitude that have been compiled over several decades. If you want to learn more about the science behind this article, you can click here to check out some of the studies.
Without any further ado, let’s dive in.
1. Gratitude Can Increase Your Happiness Levels by 10%
According to several studies, practicing gratitude for only five minutes a day in the form of a daily journal can increase your long-term happiness by more than 10%.
To put that into perspective, you would have to double your income in order to achieve the same scientific increase in your baseline happiness levels!
What’s so interesting about this fact, however, is that gratitude is one of the few activities that can literally increase your happiness levels for life.
After several months of following a consistent gratitude practice, you can expect to experience a significant increase in your personal happiness levels that will stay with you even if you discontinue the practice over the long term (which I wouldn’t recommend).
Considering that this activity costs no money, requires only a pen and a piece of paper, and takes less than five minutes a day, I’m hard-pressed to find another activity or practice that can compare with a daily gratitude journal.
2. Gratitude Can Help You Become More Likable
Have you ever been out at a party or event, sitting silently by yourself in the corner, feeling unable to connect with the people around you.
While there could be many possible reasons for your apparent social “awkwardness” according to a study that analyzed more than 243 people from different backgrounds, the root cause of your social angst could actually be that you aren’t grateful enough.
According to the study I mentioned above, people who are just 10% more grateful than their peers experience a 17.5% increase in their perceived social capital.
Gratitude is not something that can be contained to a single area of your life. It influences everything from your mood to your happiness to your social interactions and as such, grateful people stand out in the crowds and naturally draw other towards them.
If you’ve found yourself struggling in social situations, then I want to challege you to commit to 90 days of no complaining and daily gratitude.
You might be surprised to find that it’s the remedy you’ve been searching for.
3. Gratitude Can Help You Break Negative Habits and Cycles in Your Life
According to Susan Pierce Thompson, a cognitive scientist who specializes in the psychology of eating, “Gratitude replenishes willpower”.
We now know that willpower is not an infinite resource.
Throughout the course of any given day, we have countless interruptions and decisions that drain our willpower and make it easier for us to succumb to our greatest weaknesses whether it’s overeating, porn, cigarettes, or drugs.
By regularly practicing gratitude, especially during times of high stress and tension, you are literally depositing a proverbial check into your willpower bank and increasing your capacity to act the way you know you should.
Although I don’t have the audacity to claim that gratitude is a “cure all” for your respective vices and addictions, I will say that it’s a powerful weapon in your arsenal.
If you are willing to make gratitude a habit and deploy it during the times where you feel the least grateful, I can promise you that you will see a change in your mindset and your behavior.
4. Gratitude Can Help Cure Insomnia and Improve Your Sleep
If you’ve been reading any of the content that I’ve published on Knowledge for Men, then you undoubtedly know that I am a HUGE proponent of proper sleep hygiene.
In my own life, I’ve found that when I sleep well, I’m more focused, caring and effective throughout my day to day life and interactions.
Most researchers involved with the study assume that this happens because your brain is focused on positive thoughts and feelings before bed instead of mulling over problems and their potential solutions.
Whatever the reason might be, grab a pen and a notepad and spend five minutes writing a gratitude journal each night.
It might just cure your insomnia and change your life.
5. Gratitude Can Improve the Quality of Your Romantic Relationships
If you and your partner are going through a rough patch, I want you to consider, even if only for a moment, that the solution to your problems might not be to fix one another, but rather to appreciate one another.
Several studies have shown a strong correlation between a couple’s expression of gratitude and their overall happiness.
According to the research, creating and sharing some sort of gratitude practice in your relationship or marriage can help to increase the ratio of positive to negative interactions in that relationships, also known as the Losada Ratio.
Several other studies have shown a strong correlation between the numbers in this ratio and the longevity of a given relationship.
The bottom line is this: If you want your relationship to last make gratitude a daily ritual with your partner.
6. Gratitude Can Increase Your Energy Levels and Overall Motivation
According to countless studies, the regular practice of journaling things for which you are grateful can lead to an increase in your energy levels and motivation.
Emmons’s gratitude-journal studies compared a control group who kept a daily dairy against a group of individuals who very specifically focused on gratitude in their journal and the difference in the self-reported energy and motivation levels was staggering.
In a study of more than 1668 individual, researchers found a 38% positive correlation between vitality and gratitude.
For those of you who aren’t statisticians, this a HUGE correlation and one that is not easily disprovable.
If you’ve found yourself in a lethargic slump, try spicing up your mornings with a daily gratitude journal.
You might be surprised by the effects.
7. Gratitude Can Improve the Success of Your Career
After pouring over several studies, I was surprised to find that gratitude has a tremendous and wide-reaching effect on your career.
Managers who practice gratitude have been statistically shown to be more effective at handling their subordinates, employees who practice gratitude have been shown to have higher levels of career satisfaction, and several studies indicated that grateful individuals are significantly more likely to achieve their goals than their negative peers.
And if that wasn’t enough, gratitude has also been shown to have a strong correlation with improved decision making and increased levels of productivity.
So think twice before you complain about your boss and try to find something to be grateful for instead.
You can send me a thank you letter when you get that big raise you’ve been waiting for all these years.
8. Gratitude Can Increase Your Emotional Resilience
Let me ask a question to the astute observers in my audience.
Have you ever met someone who was so incredibly and palpably grateful but who was suffering from so much pain and turmoil in their lives?
Have you ever noticed how they seem unphased and unbothered even when the shit hits the fan?
This isn’t just an anecdotal observation, it’s actually a very well documented phenomenon.
For whatever reason, researchers have found that individuals who regularly kept a daily gratitude journal scored significantly higher on tests of emotional resilience.
They were less likely to quit during difficult tasks and appeared generally unperturbed during stressful situations.
It’s not because they are superhuman, but rather because they have the perspective and understanding that only gratitude can bring.
9. Gratitude Can Help You Become Less Materialistic and Envious
I’ve never been particularly fond of envious people.
You know the type of person that I am talking about.
The guy who has a great career, beautiful girlfriend, and outstanding physique but is constantly comparing himself to others and trying to get “more” so that he can live up to some absurd mental standard.
If this sounds like you (or some variation of your personality) you’re not alone.
Envy and materialism seem to be the backbone upon which our modern society has been built and it’s lead us in a pretty scary direction.
But luckily, there’s a solution.
Researchers have found that keeping a regular gratitude journal will significantly decrease your feelings of envy and general materialism (both of which are factors that have a strong correlation with a lower quality of life).
10. Gratitude Makes You a Strong Grounded Man
Ok, so this isn’t exactly a research-based point, but since I basically coined the term “Strong Grounded Man”, I feel like I have some authority to speak on this topic.
I have never in my life met a man who I considered to be a truly strong grounded man who wasn’t grateful.
Because, just like fear, strength and groundedness are inherently incompatible with ingratitude.
You cannot be a man with real backbone, a man who lives fully, and loves completely if you aren’t grateful for your life and all of the incredible experiences that you get to enjoy on a daily basis.
It just won’t happen.
You shouldn’t be here right now.
For all intents and purposes, the odds of your existence are so incredibly and dismally slim that there’s simply no way, according to statistics, that you should be alive.
But you are.
You’re alive and you are here, reading this article.
And that simple fact should make you feel overwhelmed with gratitude.
Life is short and we don’t have any guarantees about what happens when we die, so why in the world would you waste one precious second of your life with negativity and why would you relegate gratitude to a single day of the year?
You shouldn’t and you can’t.
So be grateful for what you have. Count your blessings, not your burdens. And realize that no matter how much things suck right now, you have a lot to be grateful for.
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