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In business, the return on investment (ROI) for your money is valued in terms of the ratio between your net profit and the cost of investment. A financial analyst quickly calculates this value which generally reflects success, failure and or progress on the part of an entrepreneur or investor.
The ROI for health and well-being, for entrepreneurs, investors and us all alike, is not as easily calculable. There is plenty of research in health and medicine that discusses how to improve health, regain health and sustain good health. A clear takeaway from the research on gratitude is that gratitude supports well-being in terms of physical, mental, emotional and social health, especially in the time of coronavirus. In other words, the ROI for well-being from expressing gratitude is particularly strong at this time.
What are the benefits of expressing gratitude? There are at least 4 perks of expressing gratitude that promote health and well-being.
1. Expressing gratitude strengthens our relationships
In a study demonstrating that gratitude strengthens relationships, the researchers write, “Relationships with others who are responsive to our whole self — our likes and dislikes, our needs and preferences — can help us get through difficult times and flourish in good times.”
Gratitude’s ability to strengthen relationships leads to strong support systems that boost overall well-being. The next time you think of a close friend, consider showcasing your gratitude for them!
2. Expressing gratitude improves our mental health
Gratitude has a positive impact on mental health, encouraging inspiration, motivation, wonder and satisfaction. Looking for a boost to get your days started? Expressing gratitude can help you feel inspired by scouring for things big and small to be grateful for. Inspiration, in turn, leads to motivation which can help reach your goals. Regularly feeling gratitude about nature and connection helps reignite our sense of awe.
3. Expressing gratitude helps relieve stress
Gratitude helps lower our levels of cortisol — a stress hormone — by about 23 percent, helping to prevent the health problems that stress can lead up to. What does that mean? You can help avert the negative consequences of stress including weight gain, anxiety, headaches, and even heart disease through mindfulness strategies such as a regular gratitude practice.
4. Expressing gratitude curbs anxiety
The ROI on expressing gratitude includes help with anxiety. A 2015 Italian study in Self and Identity showed that “being grateful renders individuals more prone to show kindness, comprehension, support, and compassion toward themselves when setbacks and frustrations occur.”
By promoting self-compassion and self-understanding, gratitude helps reduce unbeneficial self-talk. In turn, this alleviates anxiety, which 40 million American adults face.
The ROI for expressing gratitude is real and tangible. Try three strategies to get started on your gratitude practice:
1. Make a list of three things you are grateful for each day.
More specifically, pick out three different parts/things in each day that you can be grateful for and enjoy them. For example, you appreciate the peacefulness of the sun rising in the morning. Or you like taking your shower and feeling ready to start your day. These could be regular things you savor or something different each day.
2. Write a thank-you note to someone you care about
Share with a friend why he or she is so meaningful to you. Or, tell a loved one thank you for them just being who they are. It might feel awkward, but the bonds you strengthen will leave you feeling satisfied.
3. Write and share an uplifting and inspirational social media post
Post an uplifting quote about gratitude with your friends on social media. Or, you celebrate a friend or loved one’s birthday with a loving and heartfelt status post on a friendly and uplifting app or platform. Enjoy these moments.
By engaging in gratitude regularly, your ROI for well-being will be multiplied many times over. Your relationships and stress and anxiety levels will improve. Invest in gratitude today to see the dividends both now and later. Coronavirus may have us socially distanced, but our gratitude for living and each other can bring us closer together in meaningful ways.