Be Grateful, It's Healthy!
Scientists are discovering that gratitude doesn't just make you feel like a better person, it's good for your health too! Being grateful can have dramatic and lasting effects in a person's life that go beyond the feelings associated with it.
- Improve Heart Health. According to a study at the University of California San Diego's School of Medicine, people who were more grateful had better heart health; they experienced less inflammation and healthier heart rhythms! Those people also showed an overall better well-being, a less depressed mood and less fatigue.
- Improve Immune Function. Researchers at the universities of Utah and Kentucky observed that stressed-out law students, who thought of themselves as optimistic, actually had more disease-fighting cells in their bodies.
- Various Other Benefits. Studies also show that people who keep a gratitude journal have a reduced dietary fat intake - as much as 25 percent lower. Stress hormones like cortisol are also 23 percent lower. And the practice of keeping a gratitude journal can actually reduce the effects of aging to the brain.
Gratitude works because, as a way of perceiving and interpreting life, it recruits other positive emotions that have direct physical benefits, most likely through the immune system or endocrine system.
How to Start a Gratitude Journal:
- Choose a journal.
- Focus on the gratitude journal benefits (lower stress levels, greater sense of calm or a new level of clarity).
- Set aside time for writing; make it a habit.
- Start with gratitude journal prompts.
- Think of fresh topics or things you haven't wrote about yet.
- Find what works best for you. After all, it's your journal.
- Check in with yourself regularly, and think about how your happiness has changed over time.
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