Gratitude for Health

On this holiday of family, food and giving thanks, we pause to consider just how important gratitude is for our overall well being.

Turns out, research suggests that gratitude has an important influence on health, leading to better sleep, fewer ailments, and a greater ability to deal with stress.

Gratitude for health

Via Yoga Journal:

“Gratitude elevates, it energizes, it inspires, it transforms,” says Robert Emmons, a University of California, Davis, psychology professor who has helped champion the study of gratitude as a factor in mental and physical health.

A series of studies he conducted in 2003 found that people who kept weekly written records of gratitude slept longer, exercised more frequently, had fewer health complaints, and generally felt better about their lives when compared with those who were asked to record only their complaints. In another study, he found that students who wrote in gratitude journals felt more satisfied with their lives and their school experience.

Practicing conscious gratitude has also been linked with positive mental health. Todd Kashdan, associate professor of psychology at Virginia’s George Mason University, found that when veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder kept gratitude journals, they experienced a greater sense of overall well-being in their lives. “There are two parts of being grateful,” Kashdan says. “One is recognizing that someone benefited in some way, then mindfully seeing the connection to yourself. You have to really be in the present to see what’s happening in your life, what’s causing things to happen, and how you fit into things bigger than yourself.”

A daily gratitude journal is a wonderful way to increase mindfulness and appreciation, though we could even just take a moment to be present and thankful on special days like today. What are you grateful for?

Happy Thanksgiving!