Gratitude: Being Thankful can keep you Healthy
What if there was a solution to stress so simple that it involved nothing more than feeling thankful for the good things in your life? In fact, there is and that solution is called gratitude. Studies have shown that people who regularly practice feelings of gratitude have an advantage when it comes to their health. Research has found that those who adopt an “attitude of gratitude” as a permanent state of mind experience many health benefits.
Gratitude may be more likely to help people:
- take better care of themselves physically and mentally
- engage in more proactive health behaviors and maintenance
- get more regular exercise
- eat a healthier diet
- have improved mental alertness
- cope better with stress and daily challenges
- feel happier and more optimistic
- have stronger immune systems
- maintain a brighter view of the future
With so many benefits, who wouldn’t want to try this? To start giving thanks, consider integrating some of the steps below into your daily life.
Focus Attention Outward
Your attitude plays a large role in determining whether you can feel grateful in spite of life’s challenges. Gratitude can be defined by your attitude towards both the outside world and yourself. Those who are more aware of the positives in their lives tend to focus their attention outside of themselves.
Be Mindful of What You Have
You may assume that those with more material possessions have more to be grateful for. However, research suggests otherwise. Findings suggest that it’s not how much you have, but how you feel about what you have that makes the difference.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
Recording what you feel grateful for in a journal is a great way to give thanks on a regular basis. I has been found that those who listed five things they felt grateful for in a weekly gratitude journal reported fewer health problems and greater optimism than those who didn’t. Daily writing also led to a greater increase in gratitude than weekly writing.
Reframe Situations as Positive
It’s not actually a challenging situation that is upsetting. It’s how you perceive the situation. The next time you find yourself complaining about life’s hassles, see if you can mentally “flip the switch” to frame things differently. Rather than getting down about missing an opportunity, try to see the positive side. You might now have more time to direct your energy towards other priorities.