You have probably heard it many times – if you practice gratitude it will bring happiness into your life. However, it does more than that! Being grateful has benefits for your mental and physical health, too.
By focusing on the things you are grateful for, you can improve your mood, reduce stress, and improve your biomarkers, leading to a healthier and happier life. Gratitude changes how you perceive and interpret your life. It attracts positive emotions that directly affect your health.
Gratitude Helps You Get Quality Sleep
If you are grateful for all the things in your day before you go to bed, you will sleep better. You can do this through journaling, where you write down all the things big and small, and the people, that you are grateful for.
This helps produce positive feelings that can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress, which can allow your mind to relax and sleep peacefully.
Gratitude Lowers Stress and Symptoms of Depression
Gratitude can help lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body. Persistently high levels of cortisol are associated with a range of negative health outcomes, including weight gain, impaired immune function, and increased risk of chronic diseases. So being grateful can help to improve your mood and lower your stress levels.
Gratitude can also reduce the symptoms of depression. If you regularly practice gratitude, you gain emotional strength and resilience. You become happier as you experience more positive emotions.
Gratitude Improves Immune Function and Reduces Inflammation
Regular practice of gratitude can boost your immune system, as it helps improve immune function. When you are stressed, you have a lower immune response to infection. If your immune system is healthy, your body is better able to fight off any potential illnesses.
It also helps lower levels of inflammation in the body, which is a contributing factor to many chronic diseases.
Gratitude Improves Heart Health and Reduces Blood Pressure
Being grateful makes you feel better and can help regulate your blood pressure. High blood pressure is known as a ‘silent killer’ because it does not show any symptoms in itself until it causes a potentially major problem. It is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
If your blood pressure levels are healthy, you can expect better health, and reduce your risk of heart disease. The reason gratitude may be beneficial for your heart health is that when you are grateful it reduces stress and improves mood, which can have a positive impact on heart health.
Plus, it has been found that people who practice being grateful tend to exercise more. So this means it can help you to lose weight! If you feel good you are more motivated to do the things that are good for you, such as exercising.
Gratitude Helps You Recover Faster
Practicing gratitude can also help you recover from physical ailments. It is well-known that the mind and body healing connection is strong. So if you are thinking positive thoughts, positive things will happen to you physically too.
Get Started with Practicing Gratitude
With the many health benefits that gratitude can bring, it’s time to incorporate the practice into your day-to-day life. There are many ways you can do it, and here are a few tips to help you get started.
- Every day, spend a few minutes listing three things you are thankful for.
- Keep a gratitude object (this can be anything) in your pocket. Every time you touch it, think of something you are grateful for.
- Say thank you more often. Every time someone does something nice for you, no matter how small, say thank you.
Gratitude may not be something you can quantify or easily measure, but it does have profound benefits on your health. The attitude of gratitude makes you feel better emotionally and makes you focus on positive thoughts. What you feed your mind can transpire into your physical health. Is it time you started to count your blessings and say thank you more often?