What would happen if the tradition of giving thanks, typically celebrated just once a year during the holiday season be rewarded with a better health? Can just a positive emotion such as gratitude guarantee better health? No pill? No strict diet or exercise regimen?
Grateful people, those who perceive gratitude as a permanent trait rather than a temporary state of mind have an edge on the not-so-grateful when it comes to health, according to Emmons' research on gratitude. "Grateful people take better care of themselves and engage in more protective health behaviours like regular exercise, a healthy diet, regular physical examinations."
One’s lot in life or Income level is by no means the only measure of satisfaction.
"There tends to be higher levels of optimism among people who have faced losses early in life, suggesting that adversity can promote personal growth over time, But you don't have to wait for a tragedy to grow your feelings of gratitude. You can start today. Here's how
It's no secret that stress can make us sick, particularly when we can't cope with it. It's linked to several leading causes of death, including heart and cancer, and claims responsibility for up to 90% of all doctor visits. Gratitude, it turns out, can help us manage stress better.
Grateful people tend to be more optimistic, a characteristic that researchers say boosts the immune system. Lisa Aspinwall, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Utah. says comparing the immune systems of healthy, first-year law students under stress found that, by midterm, students characterized as optimistic (based on survey responses) maintained higher numbers of blood cells that protect the immune system, compared with their more pessimistic classmates.
Optimism also has a positive health impact on people with compromised health. In separate studies, patients confronting AIDS, as well as those preparing to undergo surgery, had better health outcomes when they maintained attitudes of optimism.
How to cultivate gratitude
- Maintain a gratitude journal: Research showed that people who keep gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercise more regularly, report fewer physical symptoms, feel better about their lives as a whole, and maintain greater optimism about the future.
- Create a list of benefits in your life and ask yourself: "To what extent do I take these for granted?" Some people need such concrete visual reminders to maintain mindfulness of their gratitude,
- Talk to yourself in a creative, optimistic, and appreciative manner: simply reflecting on things for which you're grateful or, can improve your patience and understanding. Ultimately be beneficial to your health.
- Re-frame a situation by looking at it with a different, more positive attitude,
- Not convinced these simple gratitude-enhancing strategies can improve your overall health and well-being? "Try it out for yourself. gratitude is the best approach to life,"