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The Health Impact of Gratitude

Take your gratitude pulse and see how it affects your health. From mental to physical to social, gratitude can have lasting effects.

When children are learning to ride a bike, they are often magnets for abrasions and tear-streaked cheeks. It seems they often end up in the ruts of trails or in the gutters and lawns that follow alongside the sidewalk.

The many falls usually come from more than just a struggle with balance. They come because we, as humans, have a tendency to keep a close eye on the ruts and other precarious hazards because we don’t want to fall into them, which seems logical, except that by keeping our focus on the possible problems, we often steer straight into them.

Our focus determines our direction.

Mental Health

Expressing gratitude can decrease anxiety and depression. It is the ultimate mood booster as it helps provide a way to overcome adversity and discover ways to better enjoy the good experiences we have. Focusing on those good experiences might seem more complicated when we’re already in a dark place, which is why a gratitude journal helps us to shine a light on that focus. If you are coming up blank with things you can put into a gratitude journal, consider the small things like maybe the sunrise was a little extra colorful, or that someone let you into traffic, or that your spouse helped you with something. By focusing on those small things, studies show significant decline in anxiety and depression. There are also supplements that naturally reduce anxiety and depression like Sunwarrior’s Ashwagandha.

Physical Health

A professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine did a study with people who were in various stages of heart disease and heart failure from causes such as high blood pressure, heart attack, or infection.

The study ultimately showed that people who kept gratitude journals during the eight-week study experienced a significant increase in their heart health.

Their focus determined their direction.

Expressing gratitude can improve your ability to get a good night’s rest, and it can boost your immune system, which will guard you against illness, both short-term and chronic.

Social Health

Showing your gratitude is good for you and the person you are thanking. Positivity releases a hormone in the brain. The hormone is called oxytocin, and it provides a shift not only in the person who is expressing gratitude but in the person who is on the receiving end. This exchange of positivity strengthens bonds and promotes well-being in a relationship. It allows for greater opportunities for friendships.

How to Foster Gratitude in Your Life

The best way to get started is to take a minute and think of a few people you can thank for help they have given you in life. Then call them, pay them a visit, or send them a text or an email. If you turn your attention to the holes and gaps in your life, you run the risk of falling into those holes. But a daily gratitude check might make the difference between a full, healthy life and a life full of want.

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