Home » 21 Day Mini-Course: Establish a Gratitude Practice » Day 2: Why Practice Gratitude?

Day 2: Why Practice Gratitude?

Gentle Exercise
“In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”

― Harvard Mental Health Letter

“The list of potential benefits is almost endless: fewer intellectual biases, more effective learning strategies, more helpfulness towards others, raised self-confidence, better work attitude, strengthened resiliency, less physical pain, improved health, and longevity.”

― Liz Gullford, University of Birmingham

As you no doubt know, there are a lot of great reasons to practice gratitude.

Gratitude is one of the most powerful positive emotions we have—we have reams of research indicating that gratitude is a part of the happiness holy grail. Compared with those who aren’t practicing gratitude, scientists have found that people practicing gratitude:

Feel 25% happier

Are considerably more enthusiastic, interested, and determined;

Are more likely to be both kind and helpful to others.

And that’s not all. Gratitude studies report long laundry lists of the benefits of gratitude. For example, people who jotted down something they were grateful for online everyday for just two weeks showed higher stress resilience and greater satisfaction with life. In addition, they reported fewer headaches and a reduction in stomach pain, coughs and sore throats! People practicing gratitude even report sleeping better and getting more exercise.

Gratitude is a SKILL, like learning to speak German or swing a bat: can be taught, and it needs to be practiced consciously and deliberately. Yet, unlike learning German, practicing gratitude can be blissfully simple: just count the things in your life that you feel thankful for.

I hope, looking at this long list of benefits—which is not even exhaustive, by the way—that you are feeling great about your decision to start practicing gratitude habitually.

HomeworkWhat To Do Today

Task #1: Take a minute to reflect and answer the following questions in your workbook:

Which of these benefits are most meaningful to you?

Which do you need or want the most?

Which benefits do you find the most immediately rewarding, e.g., which do you tend to experience on the same day that you foster gratitude in your life?

Which single benefit is the most rewarding to you in the short term?

Task #2: Reflect on when you’ve felt truly grateful in the past. What were you doing? Try to think more about the behavior or the environment that prompted you to express gratitude rather than the actual thing that you were feeling grateful for. For example, I recently felt an almost overwhelming gratitude for my husband after completing a Byron Katie worksheet. So the activity that prompted the feelings of gratitude was doing a Byron Katie worksheet.