Why Being Thankful Matters to Your Health

Did you know that being thankful can actually be good for you? In fact, it may be one of the easiest things you can do to improve your well-being. This simple prescription for reducing stress and improving your happiness quotient involves nothing more than feeling grateful for the good things in your life. Several studies have proven that gratitude improves health in a number of ways, including a 2007 study out of the University of California, Davis that discovered organ-transplant recipients who kept a gratitude journal scored better on measures of general health, mental health and vitality than those who only made routine notes about their days. All it required was listing five things, or people, that the participants were grateful for each day. Extensive research has found that people who are thankful are also more likely to:

  • Take better care of themselves mentally and physically
  • Eat a more nutritious diet
  • Get more regular exercise
  • Cope better with challenges and stress
  • Feel happier and more positive about life
  • Have a strong immune system
  • Enjoy a brighter outlook of the future

The head of the division of biologic psychology at Duke University Medical Center, Dr. P. Murali Doraisway, said, “If thankfulness were a drug, it would be the world’s best-selling product with health maintenance indication for every major organ system.”

Other studies have revealed being thankful has a profound effect on heart health, enhances mental and physical energy and improves the quality and duration of sleep. It can also decrease symptoms and duration of all types of physical ailments, including everything from pain to colds, while increasing overall vitality. If you’re having difficulty just thinking about becoming more thankful, there are a number things you can do to help cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

Slow down. Pay attention to the little things that you see or experience throughout your day and focus on positive moments.

Help others. Find ways to help; research has shown that people who buy gifts for friends, perform random acts of kindness, volunteer or give charitable donations experience a significant happiness boost for themselves.

Connect more with others and find time to thank them. Appreciate those you are with and find something to thank someone for every day. thankful

Pay attention to what you have. Writing down 5 or 10 things each day that you appreciate in your life, whether it’s a child, partner, pet, a good cup of coffee, or a beautiful sunset is one of the best ways to feel more thankful and enhance your well-being.

Take just a few minutes to remind yourself of all of the good things you enjoy and anything that might bring a smile to your face. You might be surprised to find how this small effort can bring such great joy to your life as well as a wide range of health benefits!

-The Alternative Daily

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