Physical Benefits of Gratitude

Physical Benefits of Gratitude

November 6, 2019

Thanksgiving and the Holidays are just around the corner. These upcoming days are full of opportunities to express gratitude through dinners, gatherings, gift giving and getting in touch with loved ones who live far away.  People of faith practice gratitude regularly in prayer, worship, serving and giving, but did you know that an attitude of gratitude has actual physical benefits?

According to studies these are three little known health benefits that practicing gratitude can bring:

1.      Better Sleep:  According to one University Study  people with neuromuscular disease who kept a daily gratitude journal for three weeks reported sleeping significantly longer at night and feeling more refreshed. And in a 2016 study, women who kept a gratitude journal for two weeks reported slightly better daily sleep quality compared to women who performed other tasks.” Maybe we should not be counting sheep but try counting blessings instead to get a good night’s sleep.

2.      Healthier Heart.  A study by the Journal of Cardiology found that practicing appreciation (similar to gratitude) improved their heart rates which is a key indicator for good health.

3.      Better Recovery. Another study found that grateful people show signs of better blood vessel function after a hospitalization when they practiced gratitude. Wouldn’t it be interesting to receive a prescription for gratitude from your doctor following surgery?

There are many ways to practice gratitude: through prayer, keeping a gratitude journal, meditating or simply telling someone each day what you are grateful for. As we gather together with others during the Thanksgiving season, why not take time to start a gratitude journal each day. Here is a list of the six best gratitude journals of 2019, or you can start easily with a pen and paper and list 10 things you are grateful for every day (try not to repeat them).

Whatever tools we use to remind us or train ourselves to be more grateful, we all know that gratitude is a wonderful practice that strengthens the body and mind.  We also know that a healthy mind generates a healthy body. So why wait for Thanksgiving when we can take time to practice gratitude every day of the year.