Last week I wrote about thankfulness being God’s will for Christians. He is worthy of our thankfulness for all He does for us, for all He has done, for the people in our life, His beautiful creation all around and so much more.
This week is about the health benefits of being a thankful person.
We already know stress can make us sick and can lead to heart disease and cancer. We cannot avoid stress so how do we handle it or minimize the stress in our life? One way is by having a thankful attitude.
I came across a newsletter on Harvard Health’s website and it starts out with,
“Expressing thanks may be one of the simple ways to feel better.”
I agree. When we are thankful we have a better attitude. We look for the good in all things and people. We appreciate and count our blessings. If we’re honest, we lose count because we’ve been blessed with so much. And being thankful produces happiness.
Research has shown us what we think and feel affects our health in many ways. Here is one example continued from Harvard Health:
Two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, have done much of the research on gratitude. In one study, they asked all participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics.
One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.
The link for the article is: In Praise of Gratitude
Other studies have looked at how gratitude can improve relationships. For example, a study of couples found that individuals who took time to express gratitude for their partner not only felt more positive toward the other person but also felt more comfortable expressing concerns about their relationship.
From this article, 4 health benefits of gratitude, on Treehugger’s site,
“giving thanks for the good things in life can result in better health by way of:
1. Less depression
2. Higher quality sleep
3. More self-efficacy (belief in one’s ability to handle a situation)
4. Less inflammation
We found that more gratitude … was associated with better mood, better sleep, less fatigue and lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers related to cardiac health,” said lead author Paul J. Mills, PhD, professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California, San Diego.”
Start with keeping a Gratitude Journal
One of the ways we can learn to be more thankful is by keeping a Gratitude Journal. The idea is to write 1 thing you are most grateful for on that day. You can write more if you choose. You will begin to have a new perspective. Write down what you are truly grateful for. It could be a smile from a loved one. An act of kindness from a stranger. Fresh water. Your warm, comfy bed. When you have those down-in-the-dump days, you can pull out your journal and read how wonderful your life really is. It works. I’ve done it. There have been times when I’m having my pity party and I will read through my grateful journal and within a few minutes I start to feel better.
I would love to hear your experiences, if you care to share, of writing a gratitude journal.
Let’s all have a dose of thankfulness for a boost to our health!
Dear Reader, I’m truly thankful for you. Whether you have followed my blog since day 1 or recently joined, I thank God for you. I pray for you and I’m humbled that you would read here. Please drop me an email sometime. I’d love to know you.