Attitude of Gratitude: 5 Health Benefits of Giving Thanks ❤️
Thanksgiving: that one holiday on the schedule where we get to focus on reflection, togetherness, and giving thanks. Traditionally, we hang out with family and friends, feast on turkey and apple pie and then watch football. A lot of us thank the universe for our bounty on this day. But, beyond this one, grateful, yummy dinner, did you know that it's actually good for your health to count your blessings on a regular basis?
Gratitude Beyond the Surface
From promoting solid sleep to heart health, studies show that being grateful can aid many physical and mental ailments and that learning to retrain our thinking by focusing on the things we are thankful for helps pave a brighter future for ourselves and our loved ones. How? Here are a few ways counting your blessings does a body (and soul) good:
1. Good Sleep = Good Vibes
Studies show that considering your blessings before bed or writing in a “gratitude journal” will help improve your sleep. For those who have difficulty sleeping at night, writing your thoughts and feelings subconsciously allows your mind to empty. This leads to better, restful sleep, so you truly feel refreshed and ready to face your day the next morning.
2. Building Mental Strength
Strength isn’t just physical; it’s mental too. As humans, we carry a lot of mental loads–financial, work, family and sometimes it feels impossible to practice gratitude on a regular basis when you're on-the-go. But it can be done and, once achieved, creates the healthy mental atmosphere that reduces stress, and allows you to enjoy your time more. When you consider your options, you really only have two choices: to be grateful or not to be. Looking at it that way makes an impression, doesn't it?
3. Healthy Heart
Did you know that stress is the leading cause of doctor visits and disease? A grateful heart can lessen your chances of heart disease and condition your mind to appreciate what you would normally look past. Give yourself a chance to indulge in exercising your mind in this way and see if you notice your heart feeling calmer.
4. Pissed to Blissed
With everything going on in the news these days, on the highways, or in social media outlets, anger can happen to anyone. I mean, do you know anyone who doesn't get pissed off in response to comments under the latest political post on youtube or facebook? Practicing gratitude when you would otherwise prefer to be angry is probably one of the hardest things you could do in the moment, but if you can consider your blessings from a bigger picture perspective, it's easier to think rationally about the problem and make steps towards a positive approach. And, frankly, skip the anger altogether by taking a different road and NOT reading the stupid FB comments. Big chance you will feel better immediately.
5. Don’t Worry, Be Happy
Grateful thinking teaches your mind to put your situation, family, friends, and the busy holiday season into perspective. When you focus on what you have around you, all the menial aspects seem to be smaller and you feel happier.
Bottom Line: Share the Love!
Finally, beyond your own body and soul, having an attitude of gratitude also helps other people in ways that are not necessarily quantifiable: can you remember a time when someone thanked you for something you didn't expect and it made your day? That contagious positive energy is something we are all capable of spreading around.
So, the challenge is carving out time to feel gratitude amidst the business of the season and all the to-dos--shopping, kids, dinner parties, office parties, what to wear, what to buy, what to cook, when to write holiday cards...: how to show our love in the best way possible. It's a long to-do list! And although practicing gratitude seems like just another thing to add to the list, it can be done with a small amount of effort. It's not hard, just a few minutes a day will make a difference and you will feel satisfaction amidst the chaos. During tooth-brushing for example. Or when you get into bed, or when you're fixing your coffee in the morning....
Let's all be that light for ourselves and others this holiday and beyond. ❤️