“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.”
Has anyone ever asked you what it is you are truly grateful for? Did you know that simple question can change your health?
Research shows practicing gratitude each day (or highlighting aspects of your life that you appreciate – family, experiences and challenges) – can dramatically improve your health and wellbeing.
According to a study published in Personality and Individual Differences, it was reported that people who are grateful experience fewer aches and pains and feel healthier.
Grateful people also may experience improved self-esteem. Studies have found that experiencing gratitude is an essential component of feeling good about oneself, reducing social comparisons, and reducing resentfulness toward others for having more money or better jobs. Resentfulness toward others is a large factor in low self-esteem. Those who are grateful are often able to appreciate what others accomplish, too.
It is important to take time out of each day to give thanks. By reflecting on what you are thankful for, you will be more appreciative of the life you have. One way to do this is by making thankfulness a routine during dinnertime. Have each person say what they are grateful for before they eat – the answers may surprise you!
The daily practice of gratitude has many health benefits, such as:
Strengthening Your Immune System
Optimism and gratitude are good pals. Together, the two help keep your body’s defenses in pristine condition, meaning your immune system functions more efficiently in the face of illness.
Easing Your Stress
Practicing gratitude can help you cope with challenges or problems much more effectively.
Helping You Be Proactive
Practicing gratitude makes it easier to protect treasured areas of your life by maintaining optimum health. Those that practice daily gratitude are more likely to fit in physical activity, manage a healthy diet and schedule preventive health exams.
“How Gratitude Can Help Your Career,” Peter Bregman, hbr.com, Oct. 1, 2015.
“Gratitude Makes Life Sweeter,” Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D., mayoclinic.com, Dec. 6, 2014.
“7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude That Will Motivate You to Give Thanks Year Round,” Amy Morin, forbes.com, Nov. 23, 2014.
“Boost Your Health With a Dose of Gratitude,” Elizabeth Heubeck, webmd.com, Jan. 11, 2006.