Don’t you hate that friend who encourages you to think of all things to be thankful for when you’re having a shitty time? Like girl, can I live?
Well slow your roll. She might just be onto something.
Apparently, gratitude is good for you. Scientists have started to research the benefits of a recognizing the good in life. They’re finding that people who practice gratitude have:
- Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure;
- Higher levels of positive emotions;
- More joy, optimism, and happiness;
- The desire to act with more generosity and compassion;
- Less feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Basically grateful people are happier, healthier, and all around better.
Here at Fulfillity, we firmly believe emotional and physical health is reflected in your outward appearance. So you know we’re all over this idea of gratitude. Here are 3 major ways gratitude can affect your physical and mental health for a more balanced life.
Positive emotions, like gratitude can improve your health. These health improvements range from faster recovery from medical procedures, a better functioning immune system, decreased feelings of physical pain, lower blood pressure, and even less visits to the doctor.
Trouble sleeping? Gratitude can improves your sleep. Even if you spend a few minutes before bed thinking about a few things you have to be grateful, it will induce the relaxation response, knock you out, and keep you that way, effectively reducing the time required to fall asleep, and increasing the time you are asleep.
5:30am days at the gym may be a more likely scenario with a gracious take on life. In one 11-week study of 96 people, those who were instructed to keep a weekly gratitude journal exercised 40 minutes more per week than the control group. This is a thing ya’ll!
AND more sleep and better health equal a longer life. Studies show that gratitude will even help you live longer! Recent research shows that the optimistic live a few years longer than the pessimistic.
Not sure how to get out of a slump? Try gratitude. The positive emotions you feel when something good happens usually wears off quickly. Gratitude reminds our brain of the positive feelings we experienced the first time. This extracts more value from the event so you can feel all the warm happy feelings over and over again.
Gratitude also reduces a whole slew of toxic emotions like envy, resentment, frustration, and regret. Even when faced with really hard situations of adversity you’ll recover more quickly with gratitude.
You can also kiss stress goodbye. For years, research has shown gratitude reduces stress. It’s no secret that stress can make us sick, especially when we can’t cope with it. It’s linked to several leading causes of death, and makes itself visible in our outward appearance. Gratitude research suggests that feelings of thankfulness help people cope with daily problems, especially stress.
Gain new friends, improve your relationships, and your sense of self-worth. All of this can be done with gratitude.
Gratitude makes you friendlier. You can make new friends and deepen the relationship with old friends by acknowledging the kindness of other. Thankfulness not only fosters more interactions but makes you look good to others. The thoughtfulness cultivated by gratitude helps to make others feel appreciated and feel good being around you.
When you’re grateful you notice a network of relationships, past and present, of people who are responsible for helping you get to where you are right now. Once you start to recognize the contributions that other people have made to your life—once you realize that other people have seen the value in you—you can transform the way you see yourself. This does wonders for your self-esteem. No more comparing yourself to others in your network or online. Instead of becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs – which is a major factor in reduced self-esteem- grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments.
So basically gratitude makes life better. Science says so. And we all can use a little bit of that right? The best thing is that cultivating gratitude doesn’t cost money and it doesn’t take a lot of time, but the benefits are huge.
Try keeping a gratitude journal. Start a daily practice to remind yourself of the gifts, benefits, and good things you enjoy. Setting aside time every day to remember moments of gratitude associated with ordinary events, your personality, or people you value in your life can improve your life in a big way.