Health Benefits from an Attitude of Gratitude
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is.” Albert Einstein/Gilbert Fowler White
This time of year, our thoughts naturally turn to giving thanks for everything in our lives that bring us happiness and joy. But did you know that cultivating an attitude of gratitude can do more than make you happier? Adopting a grateful mindset as your default can deliver both mental health and physical health benefits that greatly improve your life. Personally, I am working hard on changing the way I think about situations in which I have no control and noticing the miracles in my life. I am more aware of how I speak and want to keep my words positive.
Maintaining a positive attitude can help you:
FEEL CALM AND CENTERED — Cultivating gratitude and other positive emotions can reduce stress hormones like cortisol by as much as 23%. A study of 400 people, 40% of whom had sleep disorders, shows making nightly lists of things they are grateful for can also improve the duration and quality of sleep.
KEEP YOUR HEART HEALTHY — Recalling feelings of appreciation and listing things for which you’re grateful can protect your heart by decreasing blood pressure and lowering heart rate variability.
MAKE HEALTHIER FOOD CHOICES — In a study of undergraduate students, those who were grateful were shown to spend an average of 36% more time exercising per week—inspiring them to make healthier food choices. They also took better care of their health overall.
BOLSTER YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM— Gratitude is linked with optimism, which can improve the body’s immune response in certain situations, resulting in an increase in white blood cells needed to fight disease.
LOWER RISK OF DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY — Scientists say that shifting your thinking from negative outcomes to positive ones elicit a surge of feel-good hormones like dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin, and help you build more enduring personal connections. These things, in turn, can help ward off depression.
To reap the benefits, you first need to cultivate practices that will help you build your gratitude “muscle”! Here are three things to try, starting today:
- Keep a gratitude journal. All it requires is noting one or more things you are grateful for on a daily basis. You don’t need a fancy notebook to do this as it’s more about the ritual of writing down, daily, the positive things you appreciate. Baby steps that are consistent will develop new habits. Here is the link for my favorite journal The Five Minute Journal.
- Replace negative self-talk with positive comments to condition yourself to be kind to yourself. Bashing yourself takes a toll on your health.
- Uplift someone else by doing something kind and notice how it impacts your energy and mood.
I am extremely grateful to have you as part of my community. I’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank you for all that you do to improve your own health and the health of the people you love! I’d like to wish you and your family, a very happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving. This year it’s just going to be my husband and me, for a COVID-19 safe Thanksgiving.
And as a thank you for your business, please visit my NEW SHOP page to enjoy 20% off ALL KMHC products now through Dec. 1. No coupon needed!
Please visit the NEW Blog feature on my website where you will find past newsletters and future blog posts!
To your good health,