Health Benefits of Gratitude (or Get Yourself an Attitude of Gratitude!)

We’ve all heard that it’s good to be thankful, but did you know that gratitude has health benefits?

Gratitude Quote - Benefits of Gratitude

Here are just a few of the numerous benefits of gratitude:

  • Stress reduction – Stress is a killer. A major health benefit of having the habit of gratitude is that we are better able to deal with stress, both the day-t0-day variety and the major stuff.
  • Immune support – Most people who are grateful tend to look on the bright side of things. Being optimistic not only improves our attitude, but has the health benefit of improving our immune system activity.

According to a study done on the topic described in Harvard Health Publications:

Two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, have done much of the research on gratitude. In one study, they asked all participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics.

One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.

  • Increased desire to take better care of yourself with a healthy lifestyle.
  • More optimistic about the future.
  • Better relationships.
  • Happier overall.
  • Helps Depression and Anxiety. Interested in the science of all this? Check out these studies.

gratitude changes everything quote - benefits of gratitude

How to develop an attitude of gratitude for better health:

 

  • Keep a Gratitude Journal -There are as many ways to journal as there are people in this world. A very simple way would be to just get a blank notebook and start a running list of things you are grateful for. Try to come up with 3 to 5 things a day. You could also used a more structured journal with prompts as in  The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude. Either way, if you keep it up, pretty soon you will start to see the blessings in everyday circumstances.
  • Gratitude Jar – Otherwise known as counting your blessings. Make little notes of blessings you receive throughout the year and stuff them into a large empty jar. This would be a wonderful family activity. At the end of the year take time to review the gifts and blessings of the year. gratitude quote - JFK
  • Say, “Thank you.” – Sometimes it seems like one of those lost courtesies of our rushed and impersonal age, but simply saying “Thank you,” is an easy way to express gratitude.
  • Write a thank you note when someone blesses you or you are appreciative of something they are doing. It doesn’t have to be a physical gift. Maybe you are thankful that they are such a good listener or that they extended some kindness.
  • Pay attention to your thoughts. When you catch yourself with a negative, ungrateful thought quickly find something to be thankful for and turn it around. Some people recommend snapping a rubber band (or some similar action) on your wrist as a physical clue for your brain to change that stinkin’ thinkin’.
  • Pray – Thank God for all the blessings he has showered on us.
  • Meditate – Clear your mind of the clutter to get to what is important. Check this site out for a virtual labyrinth you can “walk” and candles you can light for your intentions.

As you can see, there are many health benefits of gratitude as well as many other benefits. This is a simple, but very powerful habit that anyone can develop. If you’d like to learn more about cultivating a spirit of gratitude, you can check out www.gratefulness.org where you’ll find a wealth of information including forums for people who are focused on having gratitude be a part of their lives. Developing this habit will not only have a positive impact on you, but on all those around you!

With a grateful heart,

Laurie

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>