It’s something that seems so simple, but actually has the ability to make impactful differences to your health, both physically and mentally.
So, during the month of Thanksgiving, which is a time to be extra thankful, we set out to explore how expressing gratitude is linked to a strong mindset and better health.
Keep reading to learn how gratitude and health are connected in the first edition of our two-part series on practicing gratitude exercises this November!
What is Gratitude?
At its core, the word gratitude is derived from the Latin word “gratia”. Gratia, translated, means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. In practice, gratitude is the act of appreciating something tangible or intangible, you receive. When having gratitude, people acknowledge the good things in their lives and express their thankfulness or ‘gratitude’ for them.
Positive psychology research has shown that being grateful is linked to a higher level of happiness. Let’s find out how or why with the latest gratitude research.
How Gratitude Improves Mindsets
On something as obscure as practicing gratitude exercises, you can guess that there’s not a ton of research on the subject as of yet. But as gentle parenting, slow living, and a general rise in consciousness increase globally, so do the studies on gratitude and its effect on mindsets.
A few examples of these recent studies are summarized below –
- A study on couples found that individuals who practice expressing gratitude for their partner felt more positive toward the other person. In addition, this group of individuals also felt more comfortable in sharing their relationship concerns with their partner, displaying an effect on mindset.
- Another small study on gratitude followed individuals over a course of 10 weeks. The individuals were split into three groups, in which they wrote about varying subjects weekly:
- One group wrote about things they were grateful for, from that week.
- A second group wrote about complaints or things that displeased them.
- A third group wrote about events from the week, without positive or negative thoughts.
What they found was that the group that wrote down what they were grateful for was rated as more optimistic and content in comparison to the others. In addition, the group was also found to exercise more and have fewer visits to physicians in comparison to the other two groups.
How Gratitude Improves Health
But gratitude isn’t just beneficial for mental and emotional well-being; it also impacts physical health. Over the years, it’s been found that practicing gratitude is linked to –
- Reduced stress
- Decrease in blood pressure
- Levels of inflammation
- Improved cardiovascular health
On heart health specifically, here are two specific studies to note –
- UK researchers reviewed the psychological characteristics of over 8,000 individuals and found that those who rated high for optimism had a 30% lower risk of developing heart disease.
- In a much larger study of over 70,000 women, over a span of 10 years, those who scored highest for optimism had a lower risk of death from heart attacks (38%) and strokes (39%).
Benefits of Practicing Gratitude
As you can see, it looks like having a positive outlook and showing gratitude can be just as good for your mental health as it is for your physical health. But that’s not the end of the benefits of practicing gratitude. Here are a few other notable, positive side effects, that you can take advantage of –
- Those who practice gratitude, often have improved social bonds with their loved ones or families.
- Practicing gratitude exercises can uplift your mood, improve optimism and nurture an overall positive outlook on life.
- Anecdotal gratitude research shows the practice may lead to better sleep with decreased disturbances.
- Gratitude practices may also increase your focus and improve your emotional resiliency by reducing stresses and maintaining positivity, over the tasks you must complete.
- A study in 2016 found that those who regularly practice gratitude had increased patience.
- Expressing gratitude may also help increase your self-esteem, and boost your confidence by allowing you to better value your worth.
The Final Word – Grateful for Health
In life, most people are constantly evolving. Whether they’re trying new activities, foods, or supplements, the primary goal is always to feel better and be happier. So, now that you know that practicing gratitude can deliver both, will you change your routines to include the act?
Let us help! Stay tuned for part two of our November series, where we’ll share practicing gratitude exercises, and tips on how you can practice gratitude daily.
For now, explore how hemp, CBD, and Pure Power’s special blend of performance herbs can help you feel your best to be your happiest.
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