Well-done studies on simple practices of gratitude have shown it leads to measurable positive effects on health and well-being:
- Enhancing mood
- Deepening ability to connect with others
- Feeling happier and more content
- Reducing inflammation in the body
- Boosting immune system
- Decreasing rates of cancer and heart disease
- Reducing stress response
- Lowering blood pressure
- Normalizing blood sugar
- Improving tendency to take better care of oneself
- More likely to choose to exercise
- More likely to choose to eat healthier
- Reducing pain levels
Fascinating to notice that a regular practice of gratitude makes a difference in making healthy choices. Participants in one study on keeping a gratitude journal were found to have started exercising more. Hmmmm, very interesting….
An important point is researchers found a difference between gratitude and feeling more fortunate than others. When we focus on what we may have compared to those less fortunate, the benefits are not there. Actual gratitude for our own lives, our own experiences, rather than in comparison to others, is what creates the healthy shift in mind and body.
Just like other healthy habits such as exercise, a daily practice of gratitude primes the brain to find the good and strengthens resilience in tough times. This is why it is a habit that can support the ability to keep other healthy habits going too.
Simply jotting down three things you are grateful for each day is an easy way to gain the benefits.
Another tool is to write down one thing you appreciate about your efforts for making healthy choices each day. Record things like choosing to eat healthy in the face of temptation, choosing to exercise in the morning, remaining calm and level headed as the holiday treats start to surround you. This can really boost confidence and resilience for future challenges.
Thinking about these things is not quite as powerful as recording them in a journal, app, or some other simple way. It only takes a few minutes a day but will keep you on the lookout for what is going well all day long. Studies show that’s all it takes to give a boost to motivation and confidence.
Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Keep Moving, Be Well
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These weekly blogs are general guidelines. These guidelines apply to patients who are cleared by a physician for the type of exercise described. Please contact your physician with any concerns or questions. Always report any symptoms associated with exercise, such as pain, irregular heartbeats, and dizziness or fainting, to your physician.
One response to “The Power of a Gratitude Habit”
It also helps to show your gratitude to others.