In the spirit of Thanksgiving, let’s talk about what this holiday is all about: gratitude.
Many of us are thinking about everything that we’re thankful for today, whether it’s our loved ones or a warm meal. But other than giving thanks on just Thanksgiving day, there’s actual research that shows that you can improve your health by adopting an “attitude of gratitude” on a daily basis.
Here are some of the main health benefits of regularly practicing gratitude:
How does gratitude affect mental health?
The mental health benefits from practicing gratitude are numerous. And while there’s plenty of research to back this up, according to this study by the APA, “taking stock of thankful events is an effective approach to reduce stress and depressive symptoms.” Among others like:
- Increasing mental toughness. Remembering gratitude in your toughest times can help cultivate mental resilience in high-stress situations.
- Reduces toxic emotions. Dr Robert Emmonds, a leading gratitude researcher, found that people who practice gratitude experience less toxic emotions like envy, regret, resentment, and frustration.
- Increased kindness and empathy. In a study by the University of Kentucky, “participants who ranked higher on gratitude were less likely to retaliate or seek revenge when given negative feedback.”
- Boosts self esteem. The era of social media can make it hard to resist comparisons with peers. However, by being grateful for everything you have, these feelings of inadequacy are less likely to occur. And instead, you might start actually feeling happier for other’s accomplishments!
Coach tip: take 5 minutes every morning to gratitude journal. It’s an easy habit to start, but you’ll reap all the benefits!
How does gratitude improve physical health?
Research is still developing on the physical health benefits of practicing gratitude. But according to this study, those who practice gratitude daily by journaling report feeling healthier and less symptomatic of:
- Headaches and nausea
- Digestive issues
- Respiratory infections
- Aches and pains
Other participants reported increases in:
- Exercise and activity levels
- Regular check-ups
- Better sleep
Gratitude can lead to better work and relationships
So we’ve covered why you should practice self-gratitude, but what about showing gratitude towards others?
Recent studies show that giving thanks to others pays off in both your work and social life. With a new friend, it can help strengthen your bond, and keep the friendship going. In work, thanking co-workers or employees, can lead to more positive collaboration, retention and opportunities.
Gratitude can change your reality
Did you know that by practicing gratitude daily you can actually change your reality?
Here’s what neuroscience and gratitude have in common.
Final Thoughts: the benefits of gratitude
We’ve covered how practicing and extending gratitude can literally change your life. We hope that you use this as a tool beyond Thanksgiving Day to improve your lifestyle. And on that note, thank you for sticking with us through this read!
If you’d like more tips on how to improve your health and mental well-being, try Yes Health free for 14 days, and see what your coaches recommend for you.
Yes Health is a low-cost, weight loss and diabetes-prevention program committed to helping everyone live healthier, happier lives.