The definition of gratitude is a feeling of being thankful and appreciative
There are several health benefits to be gained from establishing a regular gratitude practice. By writing down thoughts on what you are grateful for, you create positive shifts in both your mental and physical health. It has also been shown to be the number one way to increase your overall life satisfaction.
Dr Robert Emmons, a psychology professor from UC Davis, is one of the most often quoted experts on the study of gratitude. He and others have been conducting scientific experiments over the past two decades. Their research shows that there are advantages to regularly tapping into the tremendous power of simply counting your blessings.
Here are 5 key health benefits that studies have found are available to you when you regularly practice gratitude:
Lower Blood Pressure
Studies show that people who are regular practitioners of thankfulness have lower blood pressure. A reduction of 16% diastolic and 10% systolic blood pressure has been noted. These lower readings are seen both at rest and when stressed.
Less Risk for Heart Disease
C-reactive protein, a marker of heart disease and cardiac inflammation, is also lower in those individuals who practice gratitude. This is an important benefit since the leading cause of death worldwide is Coronary Heart Disease (CHD).
Stronger Immune System
You will also benefit from a strengthened immune system when you establish a regular thankfulness practice. Optimism is higher when you focus on all that you have and lowers the level of stress hormones such as cortisol. As stress and cortisol interfere with your immune system, your body is able to increase the number of infection-fighting immune cells when these stress hormones are reduced.
Instead of counting sheep to fall asleep, you will achieve better results when you count your blessings. A regular gratitude practice will lower the incidence of insomnia and improve your sleep quality.
Keep in mind that poor sleep is a contributing factor to attention issues, obesity, irritability and other challenges. Improved sleep quality creates a beneficial domino effect with other areas in your life and your health.
Sleep is as important as your nutritional habits and exercise and is why one of the main pillars of my Transformation Programme focuses on sleep and recovery.
Improved Biomarkers for Diabetes
In blood Haemoglobin, A1c (HbA1c) may be considered a biomarker for glucose control in the body, was found to decrease by as much as 13% for those who engage in regular thankfulness. This could be related to the finding that dietary fat intake diminishes by as much as a quarter less when people routinely write in a gratitude journal.
This means that for those with a diagnosis of diabetes, sugar control improves with less variability in the highs and lows. If you are heading towards developing diabetes, a lowered Haemoglobin A1c indicates that the condition is now heading in a favourable direction.
These 5 health benefits are just a few of the advantages you can enjoy by simply counting your blessings and acknowledging the good in your life regularly. As the great poet, Rumi stated, “Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life.”
Read more about gratitude here
I work with my clients to help them improve their health and lose weight no matter the challenges they are dealing with. Contact me or book a discovery call if you would like discuss working together.