The Benefits of Gratitude

November 21, 2021

By Kasey Cain, Licensed Professional Counselor

Hello to all of you The Wise Family friends, clients, and followers.  I don’t know about you, but I am LOVING the #wisegratitudechallenge. Hearing the voices of children and teens expressing their thankfulness for family, learning, friends, teachers, and even tarantulas brings a smile to my face every time. 

Did you know that an “attitude of gratitude” can increase your happiness? “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 Heath Publishing, 2021).

Gratitude should not be confused with toxic positivity—which is the belief that people should put a positive spin on all experiences, exude only positive emotions, and reject acknowledgment of stress and negativity. Toxic positivity is, well, toxic. While gratitude and thankfulness have a multitude of benefits. (Explore 28 Benefits of Gratitude and Most Significant Research Findings from Positive Psychology.)

The Positive Effects of Gratitude

I stumbled upon the positive effects of gratitude about 10 years ago. I noticed that in November my Facebook feed was filled with people sharing what they were thankful for. After seeing this trend, I decided to join in on the “30 days of Thankful” and have done it every year since. Every November, at the end of the day, I take some time to reflect on that specific day. I then post about something or someone I am grateful for. It could have been a horrendously exhausting day, and still, I am able to find at least one thing to be thankful for. Perhaps it is my puppy who ALWAYS welcomes me home with enthusiasm. Or, maybe I am thankful that I have a comfy bed to sleep in.  I have yet to have a day where I could not identify something I was thankful for. I do not ignore or erase the challenges and uncomfortable feelings. Instead, I take a purposeful moment to reflect on something fulfilling, comforting, and uplifting. I only post daily in November but this is a practice I try to do beyond the month. I encourage you to join me in strengthening your gratitude muscles and would love to hear your thankful moments.

Until next time, Be Wise!