The Easiest way to Improve your Health

Posted by: Christie Lanasa
Date: November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving is just about here. It’s not hard to appreciate a holiday tradition that often revolves around turkey with all the fixings, plus dessert. Or getting together with loved ones to share conversation. But did you know there are compelling health reasons to be thankful – and not just one day a year? Research has shown that gratitude can improve your health by providing a cornucopia of personal perks like:

  • Reducing your stress and increasing your happiness. You’ll be displacing negative emotions like jealousy, disappointment, and anger. You’ll feel more of the good stuff like optimism and contentment.
  • Improving your mental health and protecting yourself against depression. People who practice gratitude have higher rates of resilience and may have lower rates of PTSD.
  • Enhancing your social life. How about enjoying higher self-esteem due to less social comparisons and jealousy of other’s accomplishments? Folks who give thanks have greater empathy, are less aggressive, and more likely to give a hand to help others. And displaying your gratitude by vocalizing appreciation of others helps you begin new relationships and nurture pre-existing ones.
  • Sleeping better. People who participated in a 21-day gratitude intervention reported longer and more satisfying sleep.
  • Boosting physical health. Thankful people have fewer symptoms of illness and feel better. They are more likely to take care of their health, and use preventive care services.

Focusing on what is good in your life can help you notice benefits you have taken for granted, or people who have been positive influences including friends, work colleagues, and even strangers. At work, it can increase morale and willingness to work as a team by improving relationships with coworkers. Look for opportunities to be grateful and identify what you are thankful for. Tell someone what you appreciate about them; maybe put your thank you in writing and give it to them. That will make you feel better, too.

Gratitude can be applied to the past (remembering childhood, or other good memories), present (looking for the good, noticing positive things that happen, saying thank you), and future (keep a hopeful attitude). Like any habit, the more you exercise it, the easier and more natural it will become. Keeping a gratitude journal can be a valuable way to practice, and can help provide fuel for good dreams, as you drift off to sleep.

The information presented is for your general knowledge and does not replace the advice of your health care provider. All medical inquiries regarding your health should be presented to your health care provider.