Being Grateful Is Good for Your Health

Mindset has become a HUGE topic of discussion this year. It’s usually around productivity and being happier, but there’s another other side you need to know about! Mindset, specifically having a grateful mindset, is good for your health!

Your mindset affects your body’s biochemistry, which affects your health. I’m sure you’ve heard of the studies proving stress can lead to heart disease!

Gratitude can affect your health,both physical and mental, in astounding ways! Many studies strongly suggest that being grateful is good for your health – like lowering anxiety, recovering from depression, and getting a better sleep. Which, bonus: boosts your immune system! Some studies even prove that practicing gratefulness can change your physical body, to help you recover from illnesses! It’s pretty interesting stuff,

As a matter of fact, a study done in 2007 by Shipon, R. W. looked at the perspectives and blood pressure of inner-city African-American hypertension patients. The patients counted their blessings once a week and the study’s results showed a significant decrease in their systolic blood pressure – by 10%!

“Something as simple as writing down three things you’re grateful for every day for 21 days in a row significantly increases your level of optimism, and it holds for the next six months. The research is amazing,” Shawn Achor – Harvard researcher and author.

Stress, especially if it’s often or chronic, is proven to have serious harmful effects on your body, including heart disease, diabetes, anxiety and depression. I won’t go into that because, quite honestly, the research is terrifying.

Many researchers, including Brené Brown, argue that ‘feeling’ grateful isn’t enough. You need to practice gratefulness. It can be done through meditation, prayer, journaling, and many other practices. For more information, see the links below.

When we truly feel grateful, and even when we practice acts of kindness, our brain gets flooded with dopamine – that’s the happy chemical. Our brains are rewarding us! Dopamine is one of the chemicals that helps those suffering with depression and anxiety find relief, or beat their illness altogether – it’s a powerful chemical. Click here to read more.

On the same note, a 2003 study called Counting Blessings vs. Burdens by University Professors Robert A. Emmons and Michael E. McCullough, had sick patients keep a gratitude journal. By the end, 16% of patients had less symptoms and 10% of them had less pain. The patients were more willing to exercise and much more motivated in their recovery. “The practice of gratitude can have dramatic and lasting effects in a person’s life,” said Emmons.

More and more evidence is being discovered every day on the link between gratitude and your health.

Do you think 15 minutes a day of journaling, meditating, praying, or otherwise practicing gratitude would be worth it for your health?

I’ll leave you with this quote:
When you actively practice gratitude, where you concentrate on not just thinking about it but write things down, you go through the day looking for it.” – Oprah while interviewing Brené Brown.

Related Links and Citations:

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