The Holidays are a time when many of us consciously set aside time to count our blessings and take stock of all the things in our lives that we can feel grateful for. But research shows that cultivating that sense of gratitude year-round can have major benefits for both our health and overall well-being.
Gratitude (noun): the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness
A feeling of gratitude has been linked to many health benefits, including:
1. Improve Overall Physical Health
In one study researchers found that a sense of gratitude was correlated with better overall physical health.
2. Lower blood pressure
Counting blessings at least once a week significantly lowers blood pressure.
3. Lower stress
Individuals who feel more gratitude are more likely to have solid social support and lower levels of stress. It has also been found to improve family relationships (which can be important around the holidays!).
4. Reduce depression symptoms
Because of its positive effect on stress and anxiety, it should be no surprise that gratitude also lowers symptoms of depression as well.
5. Better sleep
Just two weeks of consciously practicing gratitude helped improve sleep quality
6. Improve eating habits
People who kept a gratitude journal were shown to reduce their dietary fat intake by up to 25%.
7. Create an optimistic mindset
Simply writing down things to be grateful for increased optimism by 5-15%!
A gratitude journal is a great place to start. Keep a small notebook next to your bed. Each night before going to bed write down 3 things you are grateful for.
We wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season, and hope we can all work to cultivate a sense of gratitude throughout the year!