People who are Thankful are Healthier
“If thankfulness were a drug, it would be the world’s best-selling product with a health maintenance indication for every major organ system,”– Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, an expert in brain and mind health
So, if you are serious about your wellbeing increase the frequency at which you feel and express gratitude.
Studies show that eople who are thankful for what they have are better able to cope with stress, have more positive emotions and less anxiety, sleep better and have better heart health.
Studies have also shown that gratitude can produce measurable effects on a number of systems in your body, including:
- Mood neurotransmitters (serotonin and norepinephrine)
- Inflammatory and immune systems (cytokines)
- Reproductive hormones (testosterone)
- Stress hormones (cortisol)
- Social bonding hormones (oxytocin)
- Blood pressure and cardiac and EEG rhythms
- Cognitive and pleasure related neurotransmitters (dopamine)
- Blood sugar
The Big Q: What Is Gratitude?
The Big A: According to Robert Emmons, PhD, one of the leading scientific experts on gratitude gratitude has 2 Key components, as follows:
- It is “an affirmation of goodness;” when one feels gratitude, it is an affirmation that we live in a benevolent world
- It is a recognition that the source of this goodness comes from outside of yourself; that other people have provided you with “gifts” that improve life in some way.
In Dr. Emmons’ view, gratitude is “a relationship-strengthening emotion, because it requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people.”
There are as many reasons to be thankful, but a Key element of life is health. People tend to take our health for granted until they are suddenly in the throes of pain or debilitating illness.
It goes back to the old adage, “the little things that matter most” and if we cultivate gratitude for the little things, being thankful will foster a deep-seated sense of happiness.
After all, if we have good health and all of our mental faculties intact, we also have the prerequisite basics for doing something about the less satisfactory situations in your life.
The sense of gratitude can be strengthened with practice.
One way to harness the positive power of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal where you write down what you’re grateful for each day.
This can be done in a paper journal, or you can download a Gratitude Journal app from iTunes.
In a study, people who kept a gratitude journal reported exercising more, and had fewer visits to the doctor compared to those who focused on sources of aggravation.
Creating a nightly and early morning gratitude ritual can be a powerful strategy.
So, take some time daily to stop and reflect, it is an excellent way to bring about more feelings of gratefulness in your life.
Avoiding getting sucked into bad news that is constantly broadcast.
You may have to limit your media exposure if you find it difficult to maintain a positive outlook in the face of worldly horrors.
Most media cover stories are meant to shock, terrify and sweep viewers into heightened emotion. And it happens all day long every day. So tune out the noise.
Below are some ways to cultivate a sense of gratitude, as follows:
- Write thank you notes: Whether in response to a gift or kind act, or simply as a show of gratitude for someone being in your life, getting into the habit of writing thank-you letters can help you express gratitude and show that you are thankful.
- Nonverbal actions: This includes smiles and hugs, both of which can express a wide array of messages, from encouragement and excitement to empathy and support.
- Mind your please and thank-yous, these courtesies can become strong acknowledgments of gratitude when combined with eye contact and sincerity.
- Prayer and mindfulness meditation: Expressing thanks during prayer or meditation is another way to cultivate gratitude. Practicing mindfulness means that you are actively paying attention to the moment you are in aka the Eternal Now. I have a mantra that I use to help maintain focus.
Nutrition is also important, Organic real food is the Key, avoid processed food.
If you read this column regularly you know that I am passionate about spreading the news and helping people improve their health.
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively.