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IBX Insights

The Mental Health Benefits of Gratitude

A woman sitting with her eyes closed and relaxing next to some flowers.

What makes people happy? We know that reflecting on gratitude, whether in a journal, as part of a spiritual practice, or through meditation, has mental health benefits. Studies confirm that practicing gratitude can help people sleep better, reduce stress, and improve interpersonal relationships.

At the 2023 Philadelphia Flower Show, Independence Blue Cross (Independence) created an interactive exercise to highlight the power of gratitude. Visitors were asked to connect colored strings on a wall to the aspects of their everyday lives for which they were most grateful.

Family is First

More than 1,400 people of all ages participated in this activity. As expected, there were some differences across generations. People ages 27 to 65 and over were most grateful for family. The 26-and-under group was most grateful for vacations.

Some of the greatest divides in gratitude between Boomers and Gen Z-ers were health (96 versus 37); gardening (78 versus 29); flowers (72 versus 38); and friends (26 versus 69). But there was also some common ground. Interestingly, strength training was appreciated almost equally by both generations (52 versus 41).

“Focusing on what we’re thankful for helps us change our mindset from immediate gratification to our larger purpose. It reminds us of what really makes us happy,” says Kortney Cruz, Senior Vice President of Government Markets at Independence. “For seniors, being purposeful in the pursuit of gratitude can help build the necessary mental strength to overcome difficult times, extend oneself to meet new people, and have more fulfilling relationships.”

High on the gratitude list for all age groups at the Philadelphia Flower Show were family, dancing, beaches, vacations, walking, music, and restaurants.

An Eye-Opening Exercise

Our brand ambassadors talked to many participants about their feelings after this activity. “Wow! Mapping out what I’m grateful for has opened my eyes,” said one participant. “This is something people should do every day,” said another.

Some were interested in the responses of others. “I’m so grateful for my health because I’m a cancer survivor,” said one visitor. “This board makes me happy to see so many people choosing their health.”

One man appreciated the inclusivity of the activity. “Thank you for making something my dad can do – he’s in a wheelchair, so it’s nice that he could participate.”

“My kids loved this, and now we’re going to make one at home,” one woman shared. “Thank you, IBX. We have a lot to be grateful for.”

Our gratitude survey is traveling around the region at events supported by Independence. Recent stops included the Independence Blue Cross Broad Street Run Expo and the Be Well Philly Fest.

Take some time each day to think about the people, things, and experiences that you are grateful for. It can make a big difference for your well-being.

For more information about mental health, self-care strategies, and where to find help, visit

IBX Insights Team

The IBX Insights Team is here to provide tips on using your health insurance and living a healthy life.