Now is the season to think about what makes you most thankful, but research supports making it a year-round habit. Many studies have found there are benefits of gratitude — both mental and physical — and all it takes to enjoy them is a little bit of introspection.
Here are seven surprising benefits of practicing gratitude.
Gratitude can make you more patient
Research from Northeastern University has found that people who felt grateful for little, everyday things were more patient and better able to make sensible decisions, compared to those who didn’t feel very gracious on a day-to-day basis. When 105 undergraduate students were asked to choose between receiving a small amount of money immediately or a larger sum at some point in the future, for example, the students who had shown more gratitude in earlier experiments were able to hold out for more cash.
Gratitude might improve your relationship
According to a study in the Journal of Theoretical Social Psychology, feeling grateful toward your partner — and vice versa — can improve numerous aspects of your relationship, including feelings of connectedness and overall satisfaction as a couple. “Having a partner that’s grateful for you or you being grateful for the other” can both help your love life, says Emma Seppälä, a happiness researcher at Stanford and Yale Universities and author of The Happiness Track. (Seppälä wasn’t involved with the research.)