The Benefits Of Gratitude On Our Health And Wellbeing

Gratitude – The quality of being thankful, readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

In today’s materialistic world, it seems so many people are struggling with being happy with what they have and the temptation of comparing oneself to others is real. But as we know, the grass isn’t always greener, despite the perfection that social media is trying to portray through its many pictures and stories. This is where practising gratitude can make a difference to our happiness and wellbeing.

In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Why is this? It is because practising gratitude helps us feel more positive and to thoroughly enjoy good experiences. It may also boost our health and wellbeing and help us deal with adversity and to build strong relationships.

Studies have shown that practising gratitude can offer several benefits, including improving mood, easing anxiety and providing more peaceful sleep. “Research shows that people are happier if they are grateful for the positive things in their lives, rather than worrying about what might be missing,” says Dan Buettner in Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zone Way.


Gratitude helps us to focus on what we have instead of what we lack.

The more we practise this concept the more we believe it to be true. Here are some ways to practise and cultivate gratitude on a regular basis:

  • Write a thank you note to someone and boost their feel good factor and nurture your relationship at the same time. You could post or email this or even better, if possible, deliver it in person. It is also a good idea to write one to ourselves once in a while.
  • Get in the habit of keeping a gratitude journal. Regularly write down or verbally share with a friend or family member the joys you receive each day.


Research in recent years has explored how gratitude works to improve our mental health.

An article in Greater Good Magazine – Science-based insights for a meaningful life, How gratitude changes you and your brain[1], published on 6 June, 2017, discusses the findings of a research study of nearly 300 adults, mostly college students, who on average reported clinically low levels of mental health. The adults were divided into three groups. All groups received counselling. One group also wrote one letter of gratitude and another was asked to write a letter about their negative feelings and experiences, the third group wrote nothing.

The findings showed that compared with the participants who wrote about their negative experiences, or the group which only received counselling, those who wrote gratitude letters reported significantly better mental health four weeks and 12 weeks after their writing exercise ended. This suggests that gratitude writing can be beneficial not just for healthy, well-adjusted individuals, but also for those who struggle with mental health concerns. In fact, it seems, practising gratitude on top of receiving psychological counselling carries greater benefits than counselling alone, even when that gratitude practice is brief.

In addition to gratitude having a positive impact on our mental health, research also shows that there is a link between longevity and practising gratitude. According to Blue Zone expert and Longevity researcher, Dan Buettner, “gratitude always comes into play in the world’s longevity hot spots.”

According to a 2019 study in Frontiers in Psychology[2], gratitude and life satisfaction have a reciprocal relationship: “Higher levels of gratitude increase life satisfaction, which in turn increases gratitude, leading to a positive spiral.” Moreover, both elements are associated with everything from better health outcomes to stronger bonds and prosocial behaviour—which themselves all circle back to longevity.”

As practising gratitude appears to come with a multitude of benefits for our mental health and happiness, it is another inexpensive and beneficial practice to add to your wellbeing toolkit.

Written by Maria Honeker, Holistic Health Mentor & Cancer Support Coach



Maria Honeker

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