32 Benefits of Gratitude

I don’t know who first wrote about virtuous and vicious cycles, but gratitude, the practice of pausing to think about what we’re grateful for, is a practice that creates a virtuous one.

Study after study shows that there are innumerable benefits from “counting your blessings” or keeping a gratitude journal or simply stopping for a moment and considering what you are thankful for. Many of the rewards of reflecting on the things for which we’re thankful are results that make it easier to be thankful in the future. For example, the practice of gratitude makes us less envious and less self-centered, qualities that, arguably, make it easier for us to experience future gratitude. It is a practice that is self-reinforcing, that creates a virtuous cycle.

In the gratitude literature, one writer has identified over 31 benefits of practicing being thankful. Professionally, gratitude makes us better managers, decision makers, and networkers!

Recently, I read that it’s not just being grateful that transforms us, but that there are benefits simply from asking ourselves to consider what we’re grateful for. The mental exercise of searching our minds for that which we’re thankful is beneficial to us.

For many years, professional fundraisers have been preaching that thanking donors early and often helps donor retention, increasing the likelihood that a one-time donor will become a repeat donor. Donors need to hear from us.

Oh. And it’s good manners.

But here’s one other reason: it’s good for us. It’s good for our minds, bodies, personal relationships, careers, for our souls (if you believe in that).

Why wouldn’t we show our appreciation? Why wouldn’t we practice the act of gratitude? It’s a virtuous cycle. In addition to the other 31 benefits enumerated above, it’s good for our fundraising.

November is traditionally a time to count our blessings and remember what we’re thankful for. Go one step further. Show people you’re thankful. Gratitude is good…and good for us. I don’t count 31 benefits of gratitude. I count at least 32.