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DJ Khaled, Colbert and Oprah Share in Gratitude

How gratitude benefits are trending in positive psychology and in American culture.

DJ Khaled chose “Grateful” for the title of his tenth album. Stephen Colbert credits appreciating life, including all the difficulty it may bring. Oprah kept a gratitude journal for a decade in the 90s. The common thread of appreciating the benefits of practicing gratitude by these pop culture icons representing each of the last three decades poses the question: should we be expressing our gratitude, too?  Here are three reasons gratitude benefits is a trending topic now:

Gratitude promotes mental health and well-being

Gratitude has a positive impact on our mental and physical health.  Research shows that gratitude helps lower cortisol levels in our bodies by about 23 percent, thereby preventing the health problems that stress can lead up to. Such health problems include anxiety, depression, headaches, weight gain and sleep problems.  Further, gratitude helps improve self-esteem and helps minimize negative patterns of thinking and negative feelings. It also helps renew childhood wonder and awe and lets us feel inspired whereby improving motivation. 

Gratitude benefits by strengthening our relationships

Psychologist Sara Algoe and researchers are behind the first study demonstrating that gratitude strengthens relationships in 2008. Algoe writes, “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.”

Do your relationships miss kindness or the muster you’re looking for? Gratitude can be a starting point to discovering the positive aspects of our connections.  Celebration of good moments can help bring both sides closer together. Try an uplifting social media post or a hand-written thank-you note.

Gratitude helps inspire us to ‘pay it forward’

The satisfaction received from a simple thank you, smile or other acknowledgment can be quite powerful. It can have an effect on us that may well linger.  At times, the feeling can help even inspire us to ‘pay it forward’ to others by saying thank you or doing a good deed.  Consider the stories on the news where a chain of cars in a fast-food drive-thru each pay for the car ahead.  Satisfaction, inspiration and motivation are all part of why gratitude can afford so much positivity, joy and goodness. 

The burden of everyday worry, stress and frustration seems to be, in part, lifted by gratitude benefits. The benefits can impact us mentally, physically, emotionally and socially.  By realizing this, we enable ourselves to seize its potent rewards. The rewards range from better mental health and well-being to stronger relationships to greater inspiration and motivation.

Words of wisdom from Oprah, Colbert and DJ Khaled

Oprah, writing about the benefits she enjoyed from keeping a gratitude journal, noted, “You radiate and generate more goodness for yourself when you’re aware of all you have and not focusing on your have-nots.”  She concludes that, “I’ve learned from experience that if you pull the lever of gratitude every day, you’ll be amazed at the results.”

Colbert said his perspective on gratitude is that, “It’s a gift to exist, and with existence comes suffering.” Colbert goes on to say, “…if you are grateful for your life, which I think is a positive thing to do, not everybody is–and I am not always…then you have to be grateful for all of it.”

DJ Khaled sings in his song, “I’m so Grateful” I’m so grateful for all you’ve done to bless your soul, With the riches of love forever, Every last tide is a promise, oh, It’s a blooming blessing, hey, let it flow.

Gratitude has benefited Oprah, Stephen Colbert, and DJ Khaled. It can be helpful for us, too.

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