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Seven Reasons Gratitude Is Good For Your Health: Start Practicing Them Now

January 4th, 2017 by Audrey Weidman

Gratitude is Good For Health

Attitude of Gratitude

Gratitude may be one of the most overlooked tools that EVERYONE has access to every day.  Developing gratitude doesn’t cost any money and it certainly doesn’t take much time, but the benefits are enormous.   Gratitude doesn’t just make you feel like a better person, it’s actually good for your health.

When I am more grateful, I feel more connected with myself and with my environment.  This is the opposite of what happens when I’m stressed out.

Seven Reasons Gratitude Is Good For Your Health

1.  Gratitude Improves Physical Health

Grateful people tend to have fewer aches and pains and report feeling healthier than other people. The calming part of our nervous system is triggered and that can have protective benefits on the body, including decreased stress hormones (cortisol) and increased bonding hormones (oxytocin) involved in relationships that make us feel so good.

  • Better heart health – less inflammation and better heart rhythms

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  • Lower blood pressure
  • Stronger immune systems
  • Slower aging of the brain

 

2.   Gratitude Improves Our Self-Image.

We are less likely to compare ourselves to others.  As the saying goes “Comparison is the thief of joy”.  You can always find someone who has more – better looks, smarter, wealthier and on and on and on…  Get off of that negative tract and start practicing some gratitude.

3.   Gratitude Opens The Door To More Relationships

If you let someone know they are appreciated, they are more likely to seek you out for an ongoing relationship.

4.   Gratitude Improves Your Mental Outlook

We feel more joy, optimism and happiness and less lonely and isolated.

5.   Gratitude Increases Empathy and Sensitivity  

We act with greater generosity and compassion to those around us.

6.   Grateful People Sleep Better

Writing in a journal before you go to bed may help you sleep better and longer and probably cause you to have better dreams ;-).

7.   Gratitude Increases Mental Resilience

It reduces stress and plays a major role in overcoming trauma.  Recognizing all that you do have to be thankful for – even during the worst of times – helps us to be more resilient.

Ways To Cultivate Gratitude On A Regular Basis

  • Keep a gratitude journal. I have both a paper journal and an app called the 5 Minute Journal that takes all of 5 min first thing in the morning, and 5 minutes at night.  That’s it!  Everyone can do this.
  • Write a thank-you note.  When was the last time you got a hand written note delivered in the mail?  It’s a memorable and you feel pretty special.
  • Pray.  Cultivate your prayers of thanksgiving.  “With thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Phillippians 4:5  Many other examples of thanksgiving can be found in Psalms.
  • Meditate.  Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment.  Focus on what you’re grateful for (the warmth of the sun, a pleasant sound, etc.).
  • Thank someone mentally.  When you don’t have time or that unknown someone who has done something nice for you, be sure to mentally thank them by sending them love and gratitude.

When It’s Hard To Be Grateful

Some of us may feel we have nothing to be grateful for or know someone in this space.  Most of us have suffered some kind of trauma, lost a loved one, or felt isolated for a very long time.  If one little thing can be found and given focus, over time the feeling of gratitude can transform the way they see their lives.

For example, if you’ve ever gone camping – you are so grateful when you come back home and enjoy your comfortable bed.  The marvel of indoor plumbing – hot and cold water that is drinkable.  The electricity that allows us to have light with the flip of a switch, the refrigerator to keep our food from spoiling, the television that is there for our entertainment…

Even the richest person in the world did not have these conveniences 125 years ago.  And sadly, in many parts of the world people still don’t have access to what we consider necessities.  I’m sure we ALL can find something – no matter what our situation – to be grateful for.

Or perhaps you injured a body part.  You never knew just how often you used it and how much you took it for granted. Give thanks for the rest of your body that is working and for all the time the injured body part served you well.

Finally I want to share some inspiring videos I love and use on an almost daily basis.

Enjoy and Feel Grateful!

Ted Talk With Nature Photographer Louie Schwartzberg and the Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast

 

 

 

Louise Hay Morning Meditation

 

Louise Hay Evening Meditation

 

 

 

References

Harvard Health Publications

Forbes

Greater Good – Berkeley

Today.com

 

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