Scientists are continually trying to find a link between gratitude and health. Some believe that grateful people lead healthier lives while the rest argue that healthy people have more reason to be thankful. Gratitude is a state of mind that reminds you to focus on the positive in all circumstances. While it is tough, it is practical and helpful. A study by Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough proves that students, who kept a gratitude journal once a week for ten weeks, reported a decrease in physical ailments such as headaches and muscle pains. So how does gratitude improve health?
Gratitude and sleep
A report in patients suffering from heart complications shows that those who practiced gratitude slept better and longer than those, that complained. This, however, does not work only on heart patients. Psychologists confirm that having a grateful mind allows the mind to focus on happy thoughts, which then calm your whole body. People who practice gratitude also have better bouts of sleep with better dreams and little to no night disturbances. It is no secret that adequate sleep has numerous benefits to a person’s health, including reduced body aches, better digestion, faster healing, etc.
Gratitude and mental health
Having gratitude means practicing positivity and always finding something to be thankful for, even in adverse circumstances. For example, when you have no food for supper, but you remain grateful for having a roof over your head and a place to sleep. Having this kind of mindset keeps your thoughts light and positive, thus reducing feelings of anxiety and stress. When you focus only on things that go wrong, your stress levels increase, leading to further complications such as hypertension.
Gratitude and emotional health
Most people often overlook the emotional aspect of human health. Gratitude greatly helps the emotional wellbeing of a person. Practicing gratitude with the people around us, family, friends, or otherwise, helps build stable bonds. People draw closer to individuals who appreciate and act kindly towards them. Having strong bonds then boosts your emotional health by giving you a reliable support system. Through gratitude, you gain better relationships, which eliminate feelings of loneliness.
Gratitude and psychological health
People who incorporate gratitude into their lives have a higher level of self-worth and appreciation. In a way, gratitude leads to awareness and acceptance of self. It does not mean ignoring your flaws. It just means acknowledging that even with shortcomings, there are things about you that are worth celebrating. For example, if you have skin covered in acne, you can choose to focus on the fact that every other part of your body works perfectly fine. Therefore, while focusing on the acne can lead to feelings of self-loathing and depression, gratitude allows you to stay positive and happy. Gratitude also boosts traits such as patience, calmness, reduced aggression, and resilience.
Gratitude and overall physical health
Grateful people tend to take better care of their overall health. They do this by eating healthy meals, exercising regularly, and even scheduling appointments with their physicians. All these things lead to improved physical health. A proper diet gets rid of conditions such as obesity, hypertension, and high levels of cholesterol. Exercise and meditation help with physical pains and aches, while regular checkups help keep potential problems at bay.
Although the jury is still out on whether gratitude really does improve health, the numbers never lie. Gratitude not only improves your physical health, but it also improves your quality of life. So why don’t you start counting your blessings and watch your life turn around?