This is something I talk about a lot and try to practice in my own life. Gratitude helps me stay grounded while supporting my health goals. Thanksgiving is the perfect time time to be reminded of this practice. Gratitude IS indeed a practice, since it takes intention and mindfulness.
As you enjoy delicious food, family time, making memories, travel, and opportunities to “give back” … seek ways to embrace gratitude! While most of us have good intentions for gratitude throughout the year, it is easy to slip out of focus. Surprisingly, only 20 percent of Americans rate gratitude as a positive, constructive emotion. Expressing gratitude isn’t just a nice thing to do, is it one of the most basic things you can do to transform your life…and there is no better time to start!
4 Reasons to Practice Gratitude
Just in case you need some actual research and extra motivation after the Thanksgiving season, here are scientifically-proven benefits of practicing gratitude.
- Practicing gratitude will make you happier than money or “stuff.” It is so easy to focus our attention on what we “don’t have” and strive “to get”. Concentrating our attention on what we actually “have” will impact our overall happiness more than pursuing money or material objects. For example, the act of using a gratitude journal each day for a month has been shown to have a 10 percent increase on subjective happiness. Believe it or not, that’s the same reported increase as doubling your income! The Gratitude Journal by Catherine Price is one of my favorites used in the JBS Detox Program.
- Practicing gratitude makes us stronger emotionally. Not only does gratitude improve our self-esteem and lower our risk of depression, it also improves our resilience and ability to deal with trauma. Additionally, it reduces toxic emotions like envy, resentment, and regret! Choose gratitude over negative emotions when they creep in… it can transform your day!
- Gratitude heightens our immune system (aka: our gut!) It has been shown to support blood cells to fight disease and decreases stress hormones like cortisol by up to 23 percent. It also decreases blood pressure and heart rate variability. It is important not to underestimate emotions as a root cause that lead to impacting health.
- Practicing gratitude helps us sleep better. Gratitude increases sleep quality, reduces the time required to fall asleep, and increases sleep duration. In one study of 65 subjects with a chronic pain condition, those who were assigned a daily gratitude journal to be completed at night reported half an hour more sleep than the control group. In another study of 400 healthy people, participants who had higher scores on a gratitude test reported significantly better sleep. Consider adding this to your daily sleep routine.
The science is in, gratitude has a positive impact on our overall well-being. As 2017 draws to a close consider reflecting an all that you are grateful for and make a list… but don’t keep it to yourself, share it with someone!
With THANKS for YOU!