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3 Benefits of Gratitude

One of the most rewarding aspects of giving back to those that deserve your gratitude is all the benefits you receive.  There have been numerous studies over the years that demonstrate the increased quality of life that can come with expressing your gratitude all year round.

Operation Gratitude CEO Kevin Schmiegel recently shared, “Our nation’s military service members and first responders put their lives on the line to protect us, and we will do anything we can to help brighten their day, bring a smile to their faces, and express our gratitude for all that they do. When the nights get dark earlier and temperatures plummet, there is no better time to slow down and reflect on things you are grateful for, especially those heroes among us.” 

As you being your new year, reflect on these 3 benefits of gratitude and join us in saying Thank You to All Who Serve.

Gratitude Improves Psychological Health

Many studies have shown how giving and receiving acts of kindness reduce negative emotions and increase happiness. 

Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, tested the impact of various positive psychology interventions on 411 people, each compared with a control assignment of writing about early memories.

When their week’s assignment was to write and personally deliver a letter of gratitude to someone who had never been properly thanked for his or her kindness, participants immediately exhibited a huge increase in happiness scores.

This impact was greater than any other intervention, with benefits lasting for a month. 

Gratitude Enhances Empathy

If a person is more grateful and sensitive to what others are going through like the sacrifice our frontline workers make each day, then there is increased  understanding and empathy.

Research shows that when you help someone, there’s a process that happens in your brain that releases serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin – the ‘feel-good’ chemicals that create a “helper’s high.”  Studies have found that individuals who show kindness and concern for others had a 23% lower level of cortisol – the stress hormone – compared to the average person.

Just by showing compassion for someone else you relieve stress. 

Gratitude Improves Physical Health

If you are grateful for the parts of your body that work and support you, you can see the benefits of trying to stay in shape. 

Paul Mills, a professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine found that the more grateful people were, the healthier they were.  He recruited 186 men and women, average age 66, who already had some damage to their heart, either through years of sustained high blood pressure or as a result of heart attack or even an infection of the heart itself. They each filled out a standard questionnaire to rate how grateful they felt for the people, places, or things in their lives. 

The more grateful they were, they had less depressed mood, slept better, and had more energy.

Join us in saying THANK YOU to all who SERVE and reap the benefits of gratitude by signing up for Virtual Volunteerism with Operation Gratitude!

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When I look back at my journey over the past 3 years and 8 months as the CEO of Operation Gratitude, the one thing that sticks out the most are the hugs.

They are etched in my memory forever — literally thousands of hugs at hundreds of service projects and community-building events — on too many trips, and in too many cities to count, from sea to shining sea.