Lifestyle Magazine

How Gratitude Affects Your Health

April 19, 2018

The results are in! Grateful people eat healthier, sleep better and take better care of themselves. They are mentally and physically healthier.

You’re probably wondering what gratitude has to do with your physical health. Well, it turns out that being grateful about the little things helps you make better decisions for your health. You are likelier to eat healthy meals, exercise and get regular checkups.

Willpower

Counting blessings boosts willpower, helping you not give in to your impulses. So, when you start feeling overwhelmed and your willpower is failing, take a moment to list three things for which you’re thankful because it boosts resolve.

This works because counting your blessings clears your mind and shifts your focus away from whatever it is that you’re craving. So, the next time you find yourself drooling for that second piece of pie or wanting to buy something on impulse, practice gratitude.

Relaxation

If you have trouble winding down and falling asleep, try counting blessings instead of sheep! Psychologists actually recommend writing your gratitude list before you go to bed because “happy thoughts” soothe your nervous system by reducing levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, and increasing levels of the happiness hormone, serotonin.

This technique also helps you think clearly and increases mental productivity. This is important because stress suppresses your ability to analyze problems.

Relationships

Highly grateful people have better friendships and more social support. They also receive more help from others and are likelier to help others.

There is a strong connection between our relationships and health. Specifically, studies show that strong social connections boost immunity. This is because people who have good relationships with the people around them tend to feel less stressed, which strengthens their immune system.

Simplest Way to Practice Gratitude

A gratitude journal is the easiest way to practice gratitude daily. Before going to bed, list at least three things that went well that day and reasons why you think they went well. They don’t have to be big, game-changing things. It can be a compliment that you received from someone or the fact that you were on time for an appointment. Listing the things you’re grateful for may seem awkward at first but within a couple of weeks it becomes a habit that happens naturally.

When feeling overwhelmed, it’s very easy to get caught up in the details of what went wrong and why. You can stop this frustrating cycle and lift your spirits instantly by thinking of three things for which you are grateful.

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