07 Nov Attitude of Gratitude: Scientifically Proven to Be Good For Your Health
With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, we are searching our minds for people, experiences and things we are grateful for. After all, we will need a well-composed gratitude list to share at dinner in just a few weeks.
In case you have been boycotting all communications with the outside world, gratitude challenges of all periods have popped up online. From 21 days of gratitude to 100 days, these challenges prompt participants to look at the brighter side and each day name one thing they are grateful for.
This “attitude of gratitude” spreads like wildfire before Thanksgiving and mostly lasts through the end of December. After that, weight loss challenges take over and being grateful doesn’t seem to be atop everyone’s mind.
But, what if we did practice an attitude of gratitude every day, 365 days out of the year? Science says that there are proven benefits of being grateful.
Here are a few:
1. Grateful mind, healthy body. A study published in 2012 states that people who are genuinely grateful report feeling healthier. Another recent study at the University of California San Diego’s School of Medicine found that people who were more grateful experienced better heart health. Specifically, they had less inflammation and healthier heart rhythms.
2. Catch more Z’s. Having trouble sleeping? According to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, keeping a gratitude journal – much like the gratitude challenges prompt you to – allows you to sleep better. Individuals who have trouble falling asleep can spend 15 minutes focusing on and writing down what they are grateful for. This relaxes the mind and allows for the individual to fall asleep quicker.
3. Immune boost. Vitamin C is not the only way to boost your immune system. A study conducted on law students in Utah and Kentucky has shown that optimistic and grateful individuals had more disease-fighting cells in their bodies.
4. Keep the pounds off. Stress-eating is a common cause of severe weight gain. It consists of mindless eating due to a stressful event, which typically cycles to guilt and further intake of high-fat foods. Multiple studies have shown that people who keep a gratitude journal ingest less fat by as much as 25 percent! Additionally, stress hormones such as cortisol are 23 percent lower in individuals who practice gratitude.
5. Stable happiness. If you bounce between positive and negative feelings on a daily basis, bring grateful can stabilize positive emotions. By keeping a daily gratitude journal, you can keep your mind focused on the positive in your life. This attracts other positive feelings of love, joy and strength. Such emotions decrease cortisol levels and can increase oxytocin.
Attitude of gratitude doesn’t always come naturally.
You may need to rewire your brain to combat each negative thought with a positive one. Keeping an attitude of gratitude journal on a daily basis can help you do just that.
COMMENT: What are you grateful for today?