3 Benefits From Saying, "Thank You"
Saying "Thank you" is a form of gratitude, and research shows there are many mental health benefits attached to being grateful.
If you need a little more convincing to be thankful, let's take a quick look at three benefits below.
Improves Your Mood
It sounds simple enough on the surface. Be grateful for what you have, and you'll feel better.
Lyubomirsky et al. (2005) conducted a study where they had study participants engage in gratitude for three days/week or one day/week.
Results showed that only the one day/week group experienced an improvement in mood.
It appears likely that the group that was grateful three days/week habituated to the exercise and it lost effectiveness.
Habituation is a decreased response to something after you have been exposed to it repeatedly.
So essentially, people became somewhat immune to the task, the more they did it.
So, less can be more with this strategy.
I'd suggest setting aside as little as 5 minutes one day/week to be grateful.
If you would like to engage in gratitude more than once a week, it can be useful, provided you guard against habituation by switching up what you focus on when you are grateful.
If you continue to be grateful for the same things, you are likely to get bored, and gratitude can become a rote exercise that loses its effectiveness.
And one last tip – don't be afraid to be grateful for something that seems trivial to help add a bit of variety.
Hey, there is nothing wrong with being grateful for the Netflix series you were binge-watching last night!
Helps Your Heart
When it comes to your heart health, most of us generally think about diet and exercise, but give little thought to how our mental health might impact the heart.
Managing stress might come to mind, but as it turns out, being grateful should be an essential strategy to help maintain a healthy heart.
Mills et al. (2015) conducted a study in which they had people who developed a heart problem complete a gratitude journal.
The gratitude journal involved merely writing down three things every day that created feelings of gratitude.
Results showed that study participants had reductions in several critical inflammatory biomarkers that influence heart functioning.
Study participants also experienced better mood and improved sleep.
If you choose to use this strategy of writing down three things that you are grateful for every day, remember to switch it up.
Habituation hurts the effectiveness of gratitude.
Increase Self-Control And Reduce Impulsiveness
Who knew that the impact of being grateful was this far-reaching?
Dickens & DeSteno (2016) looked at the impact of being grateful for everyday experiences.
Everyday experiences can include just about anything. It could be your child's smile, the bright sunshine, your current employment.
Anything that is a common daily occurrence.
Results showed that study participants were better able to delay gratification, while also demonstrating better patience, which translates to improvements in both self-control and impulsivity.
So, simply taking a little time to be thankful can be beneficial for many aspects of your life!
I encourage you to take a little time each week to practice gratitude, as part of your plan to maintain your mental health.