The Health Benefits of Gratitude

As we transition into the new year, many of us stop and think about the abundance that we have in our lives, sharing our time with family and friends.

GratitudeWe all say, “Thank you”, when someone does something nice for us or gives us something.

These are important examples of fostering healthy relationships, and perhaps even starting new ones. Expressing gratitude is a great communication tool, and feeling gratitude on a regular basis is a great tool to help create good health and well-being.

There are actual scientific studies that are showing how people who practice gratitude report physical benefits such as increased immunity and lower blood pressure; and emotional benefits such as greater joy, optimism, and happiness. Grateful people are generally more compassionate and generous and they feel less lonely and isolated.

One of the absolute best things about gratitude is that each and every one of us has free access to it. It can also help us save money. It does take a little effort to foster an attitude of gratitude, especially if we’ve become accustomed to feeling entitled to and deprived of what we want, but after a couple of days of stopping to think about the many blessings we enjoy, we start to feel much better about our circumstances. We realize that there are so many people who are less fortunate than we are, and even if we have less money or fewer possessions than many others, we really do have enough. So when we stop buying things we really don’t need in order to feel a tenuous sense of happiness, we stop making ourselves poor so we can look rich.

Feeling gratitude can help increase our self-esteem according to an article published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology. If we have higher self-esteem we feel less envious of others and more appreciative of their accomplishments.

Even when others are critical or unkind, grateful people are less likely to retaliate against them. A 2012 study by the University of Kentucky found that fostering the attitude of gratitude increased the amount of sensitivity and empathy that study participants felt for those who had “wronged” them, and this decreased their aggression and desire for revenge.

Improved emotional strength and resilience have also been demonstrated by studies of people who felt gratitude even after severe trauma such as going to war or being closely affected by the 9/11 disasters.

Thinking about a few things that you are grateful for before going to bed improves the quality of your sleep, according to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. Sleep is so crucial for health and well-being that it certainly is worth a try.

Gratitude is believed to be so important that the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, Davis are collaborating on a $5.6 million, three-year project called Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude.

We at Beach Massage & Bodywork Delivered are grateful to all of our past and present clients. We love our work and are happy to be part of a community of talented, interesting and inspiring people. We look forward to meeting more of you in the near future. Happy New Year!

 


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