5 Health Benefits of Practicing Gratitude

Thanks­giv­ing is often when we express what we are thank­ful for, no mat­ter how big or small. While this one day is a great oppor­tu­ni­ty to remind us of life’s bless­ings, prac­tic­ing grat­i­tude out­side of the hol­i­day sea­son may lead to pos­i­tive health ben­e­fits in many areas of our lives.

Improved over­all phys­i­cal health

Prac­tic­ing grat­i­tude is a great way to nat­u­ral­ly improve your health. One study1 found that those who rec­og­nized what they were thank­ful for dai­ly began exer­cis­ing more, eat­ing more nutri­tious meals and start­ed see­ing their doc­tors for reg­u­lar check­ups. The study also found oth­er ben­e­fits such as improved immune sys­tem, low­er blood pres­sure and reduced inflammation. 

Improved over­all psy­cho­log­i­cal health

Choos­ing to focus on pos­i­tive aspects of your days instead of the neg­a­tives can help dimin­ish anx­i­ety and depres­sion symp­toms. Rec­og­niz­ing that you had a bad day and then bring­ing for­ward what parts of the day were good can help boost your mood and reset your mindset. 

Bet­ter-qual­i­ty sleep

It’s no secret that feel­ing good about your day helps you rest bet­ter at night. List­ing a few things that you are grate­ful for each day right before falling asleep is known to improve the over­all qual­i­ty and length of your sleep. As a result, you may expe­ri­ence less fatigue, which can lead to increased productivity. 

Bet­ter relationships

Acknowl­edg­ing how your friends, fam­i­ly or part­ner pos­i­tive­ly impact your life allows you the oppor­tu­ni­ty to show your appre­ci­a­tion for them. A great way to strength­en your rela­tion­ships with them include thank­ing them ver­bal­ly, writ­ing them a let­ter or even per­form­ing a small ges­ture of appre­ci­a­tion. Rec­og­niz­ing aspects of rela­tion­ships that you are thank­ful for allows you to expand your social net­work with like-mind­ed people. 

Desire to give back

While rec­og­niz­ing what you are grate­ful for, you may find that cer­tain peo­ple, hob­bies or orga­ni­za­tions have had a major impact on your life. Vol­un­teer­ing your time or tal­ent to peo­ple in need is a great way to show grat­i­tude, espe­cial­ly to peo­ple who need it most. 

How to prac­tice gratitude:

Prac­tic­ing grat­i­tude can be accom­plished in many ways. No mat­ter how big or small the prac­tice is, grat­i­tude can make a pos­i­tive impact on your health. Some exam­ples of how you can express grat­i­tude include:

  • Write each day in a grat­i­tude journal
  • Grat­i­tude jar – add slips of paper that include things you are grate­ful for each day 
  • Write grat­i­tude let­ters and thank you notes for peo­ple you appreciate
  • Treat­ing your­self to your favorite food or beverage
  • Thank or com­pli­ment peo­ple you see through­out the day
  • Reflect on your day – rec­og­nize what you are thank­ful for, no mat­ter how small
  • Vol­un­teer – this offers a great way to give back to peo­ple and places you are thank­ful for 
  • Prac­tice mind­ful­ness – a type of med­i­ta­tion that involves being aware of your five senses
  • Place reminders around your liv­ing space to be grateful

To learn more about how you can take con­trol of your health, vis­it dupagemed​ical​group​.com/​s​e​r​v​i​c​e​s​/​f​a​m​i​l​y​-​m​e​d​icine to sched­ule an appoint­ment with a fam­i­ly med­i­cine physician. 

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