Can saying ‘thank you’ actually improve your health and wellbeing?
Yes, it really can!
Research has shown that having a gratitude mindset can have a big impact on our wellbeing and physical health.
What is a gratitude mindset?
Having a gratitude mindset is where you constantly respond with a sense of gratefulness to things that happen in your everyday life. These can be big things and small things, such as someone letting you go first in a queue or holding the door open for you. While some people naturally have this mindset, it can be developed by actively practising gratitude as a habit.
The impact of having a gratitude mindset
Research into gratitude and its impact is still at an early stage, but the findings so far are incredibly exciting. Already gratitude has been shown to improve quality of sleep, reduce stress, lead to higher levels of positive mood and higher life satisfaction. Research has also found gratitude to be important for good relationships, and has been shown to help patients recovering from heart failure.
How can we be more grateful?
In a recent talk as part of The Festival of the Mind 2018, Dr Fuschia Sirois from the University of Sheffield explained that listing 3 things we are grateful for each evening before we go to sleep would help us adopt a gratitude mindset.
While this sounds simple enough, it can be a difficult habit to get into (which is why I created The Moments Journal – to help me get into this positive habit, and then later to help others do so too.)
Instead of listing the same three things each day, Dr Sirois suggests trying to think of different things most days, otherwise we might start to take those same three things for granted.
Another tip Dr Sirois gave was to share the things you are grateful for with your partner, children or friends. This can encourage them to think about what they are grateful for, and might help them think of something if they are having a difficult day.
Finally, it’s important to note that being polite and saying thank you isn’t enough, as Dr Sirois pointed out that gratitude is more than just going through the motions and saying thanks, you have to really mean (and feel) it.
International Wall of Gratitude
During The Festival of the Mind, people in Sheffield have the opportunity to write and share three things they are grateful for on the International Wall of Gratitude, which is inside the Millennium Gallery.
Learn more about the International Wall of Gratitude here.
Gratitude can have so many incredible benefits to our health and wellbeing. Don’t wait to make this a new year’s resolution – start today!
Find out more about The Moments Journal, a guided positivity journal created to help you notice and appreciate the good things in your day more, here.