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6 Reasons Why Gratitude Is a Key to Health and Goes Beyond This Thanksgiving

Gratitude  in Thanksgiving

Research is uncovering a multitude of reasons why we should focus on gratitude in our everyday lives and not just during Thanksgiving. Gratitude is a key to our health that unlocks many blessings!


Research is uncovering a multitude of reasons why we should focus on gratitude in our everyday lives and not just during Thanksgiving. Gratitude is a key to our health that unlocks many blessings!

Gratitude Counteracts the Effects of Pessimism

Do you see the glass as half empty or half full? Often people are born viewing it one way or the other but finding things to be grateful for can change our outlook on life for the better. Research shows that an attitude of gratitude increases optimism. When suicidal patients wrote a letter of gratitude it reduced feelings of despair in 88% and increased levels of optimism in 94%. As shown in a 2015 study, participants who kept a gratitude diary and reflected on what they were thankful for 4 times a week for 3 weeks reported improvements in happiness.

Dr. Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Califonia-Davis, suggests:

“Neuroscientist Rick Hanson has said that the brain takes the shape the mind rests upon. Rest your mind upon worry, sadness, annoyance, and irritability and it will begin to take the shape neurally of anxiety, depression, and anger. Ask your brain to give thanks and it will get better at finding things to be grateful for, and begin to take the shape of gratitude.”

Gratitude Counteracts the Effects of Stress, Anxiety, and Depression

Gratitude directly improves your quality of life. Being grateful increases life satisfaction by diminishing stress and emotional distress. This combats stress and anxiety. Gratitude triggers the release of antidepressant and mood-regulating chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin while inhibiting stress hormones like cortisol. Research shows that gratitude is related to 23% lower levels of stress hormones in the body, and that writing gratitude letters reduced the risk of depression in high-risk patients by 41% in a 6 month period.

Gratitude Counteracts the Effects of Poor Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar

According to research, people who practice being grateful have a 16% lower diastolic blood pressure and a 10% lower systolic blood pressure opposed to non-grateful people. Grateful people also have between 9-13% lower levels of hemoglobin A1C which is a key marker of glucose control. If you suffer from any of these health complaints, it would be worth your while to begin keeping a gratitude journal.

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Gratitude Counteracts the Effects of Neuro-degeneration

A daily habit of gratitude can decelerate the effect of neuro-degeneration with advancing age according to research. Every night before you fall asleep try to count some blessings. Writing a gratitude letter to a loved one in your life would be another great way to practice a habit of gratitude.

Gratitude Counteracts the Effects of Inflammation and Poor Immunity

Being grateful can lower inflammation according to research. Gratitude can also play a part in improving immune function. Auto-immune disease is on the rise, and inflammation plays a big role. Gratitude is a cost-effective treatment to try on top of other methods of reducing inflammation.

Gratitude Counteracts the Effects of Sleep Disturbances

Grateful people sleep better according to research. An attitude of gratitude improves sleep, and it is related to a 10% improvement in the quality of sleep in patients with chronic pain. 74% of the people in this study also suffered from insomnia. Grateful people get 15-18% more restorative sleep and 20% less daytime sleep dysfunction. We all know it is much easier to be grateful and not grouchy on a good night's sleep!

Gratitude Is An Act of Love Toward Yourself and Others Around You

Grateful people have the best relationships according to research. Ancient philosophers encouraged gratitude as a lifestyle to improve sanity, good health, and life satisfaction. Tell your family and loved ones in your life some of the reasons why you are grateful for them today and every day.

Modern day science has confirmed the ancient wisdom of the Bible which says in I Thessalonians 5:18: In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Jesus Christ concerning you. Our Creator designed us to be grateful creatures, and we are beginning to understand why.

As Thanksgiving kicks off the start of the holidays I hope you will give yourself the gift of gratitude because it is a gift that keeps on giving. An attitude of gratitude is a gift to everyone around you, and it will lower your stress this holiday season. In fact, why not make gratitude your resolution for 2018?

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