Gratitude Health Hub
October 21, 2015
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As Thanksgiving Day approaches many of us grow weary of the
word gratitude. We are bombarded with messages about the importance of being
thankful from our friends, family and the media. However, don’t be quick to
write off this advice. Emerging
research about the subject is revealing a multitude of benefits associated
with practicing gratitude in our daily lives. Healthy Lifestyles would like to
encourage you to begin your gratitude practice earlier this year and reap the
What is gratitude?
Put simply, gratitude
is being thankful. However, the term holds a deeper meaning in regards to
mindfulness. According to the Yale
Center for Emotional Intelligence gratitude is a state of mind that arises
when you affirm a good thing in your life that comes from outside yourself.
Some people or experiences are easier to be grateful for than others. The
important thing to remember about gratitude is that it does not depend on your
life circumstances. There is always something to be grateful for because even
bad experiences help us learn and grow. Gratitude is unlike other emotions
because it is a feeling that you can tap into at any time.
What are the health benefits of gratitude?
Practicing gratitude is great for both mental and physical
health! Dr. Robert A. Emmons and other researchers in the field have found that
gratitude increases feelings of happiness other positive emotions while
decreasing anxiety and depression. Gratitude is also a great stress management
Not only does gratitude increase our feelings of well-being,
it is also associated with better physical health. According to Emmons,
individuals who practice gratitude generally participate in other healthy
behaviors including physical activity, healthy eating and regular doctor
check-ups. Gratitude is also linked with optimism, which has been shown to
boost immune system functioning.
How can I begin practicing gratitude?
Like yoga or
meditation, gratitude is a skill that can be practiced. Begin by simply
observing the things in life you can be grateful for. These may be little
pleasures, joyful events, or even unpleasant experiences. Then, take a moment
to acknowledge or reflect on these things. There are many
ways to perform this step! Just a few examples include writing in a
gratitude journal, composing thank you notes, meditating or talking with a
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