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Is Gratitude Good for your Health?

In addition to feasting, football, and family, Thanksgiving is that time of the year where we celebrate gratitude – something we don’t seem to do enough of these days. It’s an act of giving thanks…even if it’s simply being grateful for being able to hide out in the bathroom on your phone, while your family argues about politics once again (but that’s a whole other blog post!).

Did you know that being grateful is also really good for your health? Not only can it improve your mood and sense of well-being, regularly expressing gratitude for the positive things in life creates overall happiness, lower rates of stress and depression, better coping mechanisms, and better sleep. The simple act of appreciation can even make you more optimistic!

What happens to your body when you are grateful?

Studies have shown that grateful people have less inflammation in their bodies and healthier heart rhythms. They also sleep better and are more confident. Reflecting on all the amazing parts of your life will give you a new outlook on life.

Grateful people are also more empathetic to those around them and are less likely to think about revenge or jealousy. They are overall less triggered and angry. It seems that when you’re grateful, you just don’t seem to sweat the small stuff.

Focusing on all the good in your life also makes you tougher and more resilient during difficult times. Regularly giving thanks has shown to significantly lower levels of post-traumatic stress disorder in the midst of a crisis.

Practicing gratitude can also boost your immunity and decrease your risk of disease. It can also lower your blood pressure and reduce physical symptoms of physical pain.

Tips on how to practice gratitude daily:

  • Maintain a gratitude journal
  • Remember to appreciate everything (even the challenges)
  • Write personal thank-you notes and regularly express gratitude to others in person
  • Every day, say three good things that occurred
  • Say thanks to your partner
  • Remember the bad (sometimes you have to think of the hard times, to acknowledge the good times)
  • Savor the good moments
  • Volunteer. It’s the perfect way to give back and remind us of what we take for granted.

As for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, going around the table to share thanks, or simply taking the time to connect with family and friends are good ways to get started in your appreciation journey. Just try to remember to do so before you dive head-first into those mashed potatoes!

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