Greetings to the Ladies Jane!
A relatively unknown concept is what I think of as The Gratitude Return. The idea is that experiencing the emotion we refer to as gratitude begins a chain reaction that ends in a measure of well-being. Gratitude journals and self-generated gratitude interventions have been shown to provide a wealth of benefits, including improved overall optimism, goal attainment, and higher levels of alertness, as well as increased positive attitude, improved energy, overall contentment, longer and better quality sleep, and increased hope and determination (hence, I suspect, the goal attainment).
In fact, one researcher says that practicing gratitude can improve happiness levels by around 25%. Who couldn’t stand to be 25% happier?
One of the most striking angles of this concept is that demographic traits (income, race, age, etc.) have been shown to be unreliable in predicting subjective well-being (SWB), but that personality traits (such as extroversion) are a reliable predictor. Gratitude is beginning to be considered one such trait. Another striking angle is that, while most religions stress gratitude and graciousness as a virtue, the personal positive rewards of gratitude are shown to be independent of religion, i.e. the atheist will reap the same rewards as the born-again.
“Gratitude seems to energize and elevate people,” another researcher says. “It’s available to everyone. And it has a very large payoff for a very small investment.”
So, ladies, flex your gratitude muscle and reap the rewards! I made the “Practice Gratitude” graphic to help us all remember. Click through and print it out in whatever size you’d like.