In November each year, the United States celebrates Gratitude in November, recognized as
National Gratitude Month. Thankfully, we see many people and organizations celebrate this
in myriad ways. Many non-profits suggest increasing acts of charity to show gratitude.
Schools and higher education organizations support a gratitude journaling practice to
enhance student and teacher outcomes. Corporations offer employees opportunities to give
back to the community and provide employee appreciation offerings. Managers share more
positive feedback with direct reports. As it is said in Dr. Harry Cohen's book, Be the Sun,
Not the Salt, the research is clear: cultivating gratitude makes you and the people around
you feel better.
There is a growing wealth of research on the benefits of acknowledging gratitude and on
the mechanisms of how practicing gratitude succeeds in creating positive impact. From the
Greater Good Science Center at the
University of California, Berkeley, we know that the practitioners of gratitude have:
• Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure
• Higher levels of positive emotions
• More joy, optimism, and happiness
• More generosity and compassion
• Less feelings of loneliness and isolation
This month and every month, we encourage you to intentionally acknowledge your gratitude
to see what impacts you can make.
Be the Sun, Not the Salt is so grateful for all the studies done to help us all be more aware
of the benefits of Gratitude. Today, in honor of National Gratitude Month, we share this
article below from Greater Good Magazine on Why Practice Gratitude.
WHY PRACTICE IT?
Over the past 15 years, hundreds of studies have documented the social, physical, and
psychological benefits of gratitude. The research suggests these benefits are available to
most anyone who practices gratitude, even in the midst of adversity, such as elderly people
confronting death, women with breast cancer, and people coping with a chronic muscular
disease. Here are some of the top research-based reasons for practicing gratitude.
Gratitude brings us happiness: Through research by Robert Emmons, happiness expert
Sonja Lyubomirsky, and many other scientists, practicing gratitude has proven to be one
of the most reliable methods for increasing happiness and life satisfaction; it also boosts
feelings of optimism, joy, pleasure, enthusiasm, and other positive emotions.
On the flip side, gratitude also reduces anxiety and depression and could be a helpful
part of therapy. Research suggests it may help reduce depression among people with
Gratitude is good for our bodies: Studies by Emmons and his colleague Michael
McCullough suggest gratitude strengthens the immune system, lowers blood pressure,
reduces symptoms of illness, and makes us less bothered by aches and pains. It also
encourages us to exercise more and take better care of our health.
Grateful people sleep better: They get more hours of sleep each night, spend less time
awake before falling asleep, and feel more refreshed upon awakening. If you want to
sleep more soundly, count blessings, not sheep.
Gratitude makes us more resilient: It has been found to help people recover from
traumatic events, including Vietnam War veterans with PTSD, victims of natural disasters,
and people living under violent, political conflict.
Gratitude strengthens relationships: It makes us feel closer and more committed to
friends and romantic partners. When partners feel and express gratitude for each other,
they each become more satisfied with their relationship. Gratitude may also encourage a
more equitable division of labor between partners.
Dr. Harry Cohen, author of Be The Sun, Not the Salt, says the upside is far greater than the
downside and continuing this practice seems like a "no-brainer." This month and every
month, we encourage you to intentionally acknowledge your gratitude to see what impacts
you can make. Will you join our challenge and let us know how it impacts your personal and work lives?