AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE MAKES YOU HEALTHIER
A healthy body make a healthy mind. But what if the age-old axiom works in reverse? As humanity marches on to ever-greater heights, scientific breakthroughs strengthen the long-held ties between the body’s physical health and its emotional health. And now, recent studies propose that gratitude may just make your body healthier as well as improve your mental wellbeing. "Gratitude … can be an incredibly powerful and invigorating experience,” says respected psychiatric researcher Jeff Huffman. “There is growing evidence that being grateful may not only bring good feelings. It could lead to better health.”
The line of research linking physical health with gratitude began in 1995 when a study exploring the effects of emotions on heart rate variability discovered that people who felt sustained appreciation had improved heart health. Most recently, a Journal of Health Psychology study exploring the impact of gratitude on well-being found that a group who kept gratitude journals for two weeks had lower blood pressure than their counterparts. Gratitude’s other benefits are also purported to be healthier skin, better sleep, and fewer headaches.
So how can you experience these benefits of a more grateful attitude? Take a leaf out of the aforementioned study’s book and keep a gratitude journal. It’s as simple as jotting down anything you’re thankful for.
Follow this up with writing thank-you notes or making a thank-you call to someone for the impact they have on your life. These stepping-stones may lead the way to deeper practices of gratitude like mindfulness and meditation, making gratitude a way of your life.