• Dr. Bill Walker

5 Powerful Ways Gratitude Will Make Your Family Happier & Stronger!

There are few attitudes more disappointing than a lack of gratitude.

We correct our children when we see it in them and feel disgust when we see it in adults.

Gratitude is a powerful trait. Every member of your family can become a better person by developing a sense of greater gratitude in their lives.

Social scientists have been studying this powerful trait for years. What they have found is amazing as to how gratitude makes all of us better individuals.

Since a family is made up of individuals it is easy to see how having and expressing gratitude makes our families happier and stronger.

What Follows Are 5 Powerful Reasons You Should Teach, Model and Cultivate Gratitude in Your Family:

I. Gratitude Will Increases PATIENCE in Your Family

What family could not benefit from more patience?!

In one study [1] volunteers were identified as being either grateful, happy, or neutral. They were also identified as to whether they were patient or impatient by nature.

The researchers discovered that people who were more grateful by nature were also the most patient by nature.

This means there is a relationship between being grateful and being patient.

The explanation for gratitude’s effect on patience might be this:

Being grateful gives people a sense of fulfillment. In turn, people with a sense of fulfillment tend to be more patient. Why? Because a person that feels ‘fulfilled’ (caused by gratitude) is more likely to also feel satisfied. Impatience and satisfaction are opposites of one another.

Impatience results when you focus on what you do NOT have. Gratitude causes you to focus on what you DO have - and be thankful and satisfied with it. This more positive frame of mind makes it easier to be patient with yourself and others.

II. Gratitude Will Increase HAPPINESS In Your Family

Researchers at Kent State [2] had students write a letter of gratitude to someone that was a positive influence in their lives. They wrote 1 letter every 2 weeks for a total of 3 letters.

After writing each letter each student’s level of happiness was measured. The study found that students' level of happiness increased every time they wrote a letter of gratitude.

In Other Words– this act of expressing gratitude made them feel happy.

Family members who express gratitude will feel happier. The entire family becomes a happy family when gratitude is expressed on a regular basis.

III. Gratitude Will Increase SELF-CONTROL in Your Family

Lack of self-control has caused serious problems in many a family. Whether abusing substances like alcohol and drugs, or losing control of one’s temper, every family could benefit from more self-control.

When researchers compared levels of self-control in people along with their level of gratitude one group clearly won out. [3]

People who had high levels of gratitude also had the highest levels of self-control.

One of the study authors, Professor David DeSteno, said that gratitude functions, “like a vaccine against impulsiveness and enhances self-control.”

IV. Gratitude Will Reduce NEGATIVE BEHAVIOR in Your Children

Problem behavior in teens has become an epidemic of sorts. From abusing alcohol/drugs to stealing, delinquency, and fighting in school, problem behavior is a daily reality for many families.

When researchers at California State University followed a group of 700 teens over a 4-year period gratitude emerged as a major player in teen behavior. [4]

Teens with the highest levels of gratitude were “more likely than their less grateful peers to be happy, less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol and less likely to have behavior problems at school.

There Is More

The teens with the highest levels of gratitude also:

* had a greater sense of meaning in their life

* were more satisfied with their lives overall

* were more happy and hopeful about their lives

* reported fewer negative emotions and depressive symptoms


Lead study author Dr. Glacomo Bono summarized the results by saying,

"More gratitude may be precisely what our society needs to raise a generation that is ready to make a difference in the world."

V. Gratitude Will Make Your MARRIAGE STRONGER

A number of studies have found that expressions of gratitude between husband and wife have a stronger positive effect on marriage satisfaction than anything else couples can do for one another!

In one study, University of Georgia researchers interviewed almost 500 married couples. They measured the level of financial well being, communication style, and expressions of gratitude, for each marriage. [5]

They found that the strongest predictor of marriage happiness was the practice of each partner making statements of gratitude to one another.

Statements of gratitude (“Thank you for making my appointment”; “I appreciate you fixing that great meal”, etc.) make our spouses feel appreciated. Feeling appreciated is a powerful variable that, in turn, makes us appreciate our spouse for acknowledging our good actions.

This study found that regular expressions of gratitude in a marriage strengthen a marriage to the point where even the effects of poor communication styles during arguments are neutralized.

As well, expressing gratitude for one’s partner was even more important to marriage happiness than a couple’s financial status.

Powerful stuff, yes?!


Christianly Speaking

Gratitude, and the expression of it, is a Biblical command for Christians. We are to be a grateful people, and we are to express our gratitude by giving thanks to God.

*The Bible says:

a) “Always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name

of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:20)

b) "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all

circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

(I Thessalonians 5:16-18)

It is the will of God that we be a grateful people. The examples of gratitude we set have the potential to lead nonbelievers to follow Christ.

Jesus said, “You should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven"

(Matthew 5:16)

In this case, "the good things you do" is about setting a good example for others by living with a strong spirit of gratitude in your life. Believe me, others will notice, especially in these times of indifference and selfishness.

A second blessing is that when children grow up in a thankful family they, too, are highly likely to become thankful individuals themselves. Parents are the strongest role model a child has, and your life of gratitude will serve as a powerfully positive influence on your children.


The Bottom Line

I confess: I did not realize the POWER gratitude has on our relationships until I researched this article. Like you probably, I knew it was a good thing, but I had no idea just HOW MUCH gratitude effects our relationships in a positive way.

5 Takeaways From This Article:

1) Expressing gratitude will help your family Be More Patient with One


2) Expressing gratitude will help your family Be More Happy with One


3) Expressing gratitude will help your family Have More Self-Control

with One Another

4) Expressing gratitude will help your children Engage In Fewer

Negative Behaviors

5) Expressing gratitude will make your Marriage Happier and Stronger

Before You Go

Thank you for reading this article.

Can I ask a personal favor?

Without your help this article will disappear from Facebook about as quickly as it appeared. The result is very few people will have the chance to read it.

I think most families could benefit by being convinced to be more grateful - and to express that gratitude.

Because so - I think they might greatly benefit from the information in this article.

So, please, help me Reach These Families!

A simple ‘click’ on your part, to 'like', 'comment' &/or 'Share' may make all the difference in helping a family begin expressing their gratitude for one another.

For the Family,

--dr. bill