Spirituality & Health Magazine

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The Importance of Showing Gratitude in Relationships

Demonstrating appreciation brings people closer

In honor of Thank You Thursday, we’re all about celebrating the power of showing gratitude. We’ve seen the power of how gratitude affects our own relationships with our selves and our lives. But did you know that giving thanks to your partner, friend, coworker or acquaintance can greatly strengthen those bonds too? Here’s the science:

Gratitude helps maintain relationships

Not only does expressing gratitude make the recipient feel good, it affects both parties. Dr. Sara Algoe, psychologist, explains that gratitude strengthens our interpersonal relationships. Through this feeling of gratitude, we identify people who are more responsive to our needs, bringing us closer.

When it comes to maintaining relationships, Algoe’s research shows that people who feel appreciative of their partners are more receptive to their needs. Moreover, those same people prove to be more committed to their relationships, and are more likely remain in the relationship months later.

In addition, the research finds that gratitude can help relationships thrive by promoting a cycle of generosity. For instance, one partner’s gratitude can prompt both partners to think and act in ways to help them signal gratitude to each other and promote a desire to hold onto their relationships.

Gratitude helps improve relationships

Gratitude also helps people work on their relationships. The realization that your partner is valuable, and choosing to act according, may help them feel more appreciated. This goes back to the cycle of generosity: Algoe’s research shows that people report being more thoughtful and responsive to their partners’ needs on days when they feel more grateful for their partners.

This makes sense; we are naturally more attentive toward our loved ones needs when we aren’t taking them for granted. The trick is finding ways to put gratitude into action.

As part of Algoe’s research, couples came into the lab and talked about important topics in their relationships. The findings demonstrate that participants who are more grateful for their partners tend to be more caring and attentive listeners during these discussions – a key for promoting intimacy in relationships. These conclusions suggest that gratitude may help people gain and maintain that intimacy.

Gratitude improves relationships with co-workers and friends

When it comes to the workplace, showing gratitude will build stronger relationships and help you get better results on the job. By giving compliments, speaking up in team meetings, bringing in treats from home or emailing your boss, you better open up the gates of communication so that people will feel more comfortable approaching you with new projects or to address issues quickly.

With friends, sending a text after a lunch date or saying that you’re thinking about them may just make their day. It can also bridge the gap between visits if you’re super busy or live far away.

Show your partner, coworker or friend that you’re thankful for them today!

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