7 ways being grateful can bring unexpected benefits

Key takeaways

  • Thanksgiving is a time of year that brings people together to share and express their gratitude.
  • Studies show that being grateful provides many physical and mental health benefits.
  • Expressing and sharing your gratitude is a great way to connect with friends, family, clients and your network.

Thanksgiving offers an exceptional opportunity to share your gratitude, which is always a kind thing to do. But research shows that being grateful can do more, with powerful benefits for your health and mental well-being.

When the Pilgrims at Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts celebrated the first Thanksgiving in 1623, they were acknowledging their good fortune that a drought that ruined their crops broke and that new supplies were arriving to ensure their survival.

Most Presidents from George Washington forward proclaimed one or two days annually for a Thanksgiving holiday. Our November holiday was officially established in 1863. But Native Americans and immigrants to North America often held special harvest celebrations and other days to express gratitude long before the British colonies were settled.

While Thanksgiving Day is associated with parades, football games, and massive servings of turkey with all the trimmings and pie, at its core, the holiday is about giving thanks. Thanksgiving gives us time to acknowledge our gratitude to our friends, family and community. Whether you gather with your family to watch a parade on television, a football game, or spend the day cooking and baking, the holiday represents a day — often several days — of counting your blessings.

Why being grateful is so powerful

Showing your gratitude for someone or a group of people feels good and makes other people feel good. However, scientific research shows that gratitude has a far more profound impact on your health than most people realize. Intentionally recognizing who and what you're grateful for can increase your sense of happiness and is often recommended for people suffering from stress, anxiety or depression.

Here are just a few of the ways being grateful can improve your health:

  1. Improves your sleep. Researchers in England found that consciously cultivating gratitude throughout the day and before bedtime generates positive thoughts and drives negative thoughts away. These positive thoughts lead to longer, uninterrupted sleep, which is essential for good health.
  2. Lowers your blood pressure. Researchers found that gratitude can help control blood pressure in a series of clinical trials. The correlation between gratitude and health outcomes is likely because people with a grateful attitude tend to be more health-conscious and are less likely to smoke or drink alcohol, which contributes to lowering their blood pressure.
  3. Motivates you to exercise more. In one study, participants were asked to keep gratitude journals and record their weekly activities. The study found that people with the most grateful attitude also exercised frequently and participated in healthy activities. The extra physical activity contributed to a more positive mental outlook.
  4. It helps you lower your A1c. Your A1c levels are a glucose control indicator for diagnosing and monitoring diabetes. In one study, individuals who demonstrated gratitude were reported to have their A1c levels decrease by 9% to 13%.
  5. Boosts your self-confidence. Giving and receiving gratitude can help you improve your self-confidence, an essential quality for real estate professionals. In one study that focused on athletes, participants who received high levels of gratitude from their coaches also experienced increased self-esteem.
  6. Makes you feel more optimistic. Keeping a gratitude journal, placing visual reminders of gratitude around your home or office, and expressing gratitude to others verbally or through a thank you note or email can contribute to a stronger feeling of optimism, according to one study.
  7. Helps you to be more forgiving. In another study, gratitude was a key contributor to the ability to forgive. In addition, gratitude can be an essential part of emotional intelligence and other positive personality traits such as being an extrovert, agreeable, open and conscientious.

While you’re likely to feel grateful for your friends, family, health and home, it's a great time of year to share with your clients some extra appreciation too. One way to show your clients how thankful you are for them is to make sure they protect their most important place with a Cinch home warranty.

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