Being grateful and focusing on the good things in life have been shown to improve our mind, body and relationships.
“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has." – Greek philosopher, Epictetus
Gratitude is a concept that has been embraced by philosophers and thinkers throughout the ages and is a common element in many religions and spiritual practices.
In recent years, researchers have been studying the benefits of being grateful. Scientific evidence shows that intentionally expressing gratitude can have a positive impact on our mental wellbeing, relationships and physical health.
We spoke with Dr Grant Blashki, a lead clinical adviser at Beyond Blue, about the benefits of practising gratitude in leading a happier and healthier life, and how to get started.
What is gratitude?
Gratitude is being in a state of thankfulness and appreciating the value of what we have.
1. Gain a positive perspective
One well-known research project on gratitude asked different groups of people to write down the things they were grateful for every day, while others were asked to write down things that annoyed or bothered them.
2. Build more meaningful relationships
As well as improving mental wellbeing, practising gratitude helps us build more meaningful relationships with our partners, families and friends.
3. Give your physical health a boost
Studies have shown that gratitude benefits your physical health too. Practising gratitude leads to a stronger immune system, fewer aches and pains, and better sleep. You could try counting your blessings instead of counting sheep!
How to start practising gratitude
Given how busy we are in our day-to-day lives, Dr Blashki says we need to make an intentional decision to begin the practise of gratitude.