7 Health Benefits Of Practicing Gratitude Everyday
Thanksgiving is always here before we know it. It’s a season of thankfulness and a reminder to be grateful for the things you have in your life, like family, friends, a home, and food. Even though the holiday season may come with festivities and celebrations, this time of year can be emotionally, mentally, and physically challenging for many people.
For those who struggle with extreme anxiety, depression, and other health disorders, professional help is often the best way to get better. However, for others who may feel overwhelmed and stressed this season, or for anyone else who goes along with the excitement, practicing gratitude could help lift all spirits during the holiday season and beyond. Gratitude is the state of being grateful for someone or something. When you practice gratitude, you express thankfulness and appreciation for anything, whether it’s a gift from someone or something you see during your daily life.
Studies have shown that practicing gratitude actually comes with benefits. Check out these seven health benefits of practicing gratitude every day.
1. Boosts your mood
Being a grateful person can boost your mood. The more you choose gratitude, the fewer toxic emotions enter your life. If you live a life ungrateful of anything, that can often bring down your mood.
Some days, you may feel like there’s only one or two things that you can find in the day to be grateful for. That’s okay! Think hard and you’ll probably find even more. Do you have access to clean drinking water? This is something to be grateful for when one in three people do not. Did you make it to work safely this morning? Take a second to be thankful you weren’t part of the 3,700 daily fatalities caused by car accidents.
There are probably more things around you to be grateful for than you may realize. Saying what you’re thankful for out loud or writing it down can increase your happiness because it reminds you that there are good things in your life, even during the darkest moments.
2. Allows for better sleep
A life of gratitude can also promote better sleep. People who practice gratitude often take a few moments before they go to sleep to write in a gratitude journal. You go to bed with happier thoughts and gratefulness, prompting you to sleep better and longer. You won’t be as likely to toss and turn with negative thoughts in your head.
3. Leads to greater physical health
Grateful people are more likely to take care of their health. When you practice gratitude, you are more likely to attend doctor checkups and exercise more often. This benefit goes in conjunction with better sleep, too. If you get better sleep, your physical health automatically benefits because your body has rested, and you have more energy to tackle the day’s projects.
Furthermore, it has been shown to improve blood pressure, lessen headaches, and reduce congestion.
4. Builds the immune system
Another health benefit of practicing gratitude is that it helps build the immune system. It can contribute to an overall better sense of well-being. When you’re stressed or have negative emotions, it can lower your immune system’s response to fight off illnesses and other bodily threats. Gratitude can even reduce the risk of heart failure and keep your heart healthier for longer.
5. Improves mental health
Overall, when you’re grateful for everything life has to offer, your mental health significantly improves. It can ease any symptoms of depression and anxiety, which is essential for your livelihood. When you thank someone for something they did or find gratefulness in each sunrise, you’re fostering positive feelings, which have a long-term positive effect when done regularly.
6. Strengthens relationships
Relational health is important, especially during the holidays. Often, the holiday season brings families and friends together. If you want to renew a bond with someone in your life or continue to strengthen a particular relationship, you should practice gratitude. Gratitude plays a significant role in forming relationships and building on existing ones. You feel more satisfied when you and the other person show appreciation for one another.
7. Helps you cope with stress
Finally, practicing gratitude can help you cope with the stress that comes with the holiday season and any stress that occurs in your daily life. In one study, a group of participants recorded their stress levels for two weeks. Half of the participants wrote what they were grateful for each day, and the other half didn’t. Those who expressed gratitude had a more positive outlook on life and felt less stress every day.
How you can practice gratitude
There are so many ways you can begin to practice gratitude in your life. Below are just a few of those:
Begin a gratitude journal: Purchase a journal and dedicate it to things you’re grateful for throughout the day. It can help you regulate your emotions and help you realize that there’s more to life than negativity.
Meditate: Each morning, take a few minutes to meditate on what you’re grateful for and how you’ve gotten to where you are. Remember the past and reflect on how your life has brought you here.
Start a gratitude jar: Whenever you’re feeling thankful, or something good happens to you, write it on a piece of paper and stick it in a jar. When you’re feeling down or ungrateful, choose one of the slips out of the jar to remind you of something you can appreciate.
Write personal thank-you notes: If there’s someone in your life that you appreciate, send them a letter or a quick text to remind them. You can also express gratitude to others around you in-person. It can spark a gratitude movement in your family or workplace.
Experiment with these to find the best ways that work for you to practice gratitude. Soon, you’ll notice the effects!
What are you grateful for?
Take this time now to think about what you’re grateful for today. Start your own gratitude movement and reap the health benefits during this thankful season.
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