5 Ways Being Grateful Makes You a Healthier, Happier Person
While Mary Poppins believed in “a spoonful of sugar,” we’re in support of an alternative method to “help the medicine go down”: acts of gratitude. Practicing gratitude is the acknowledgment and/or expression of appreciation for what is meaningful in your daily life.
Not only have studies shown that consistently practicing gratitude boosts your mood and increases optimism, but there are also findings that say taking five minutes each day to remember what you’re grateful for promotes healthy behaviors and provides physical health benefits, such as:
- Improved heart health – Gratitude is associated with lower overall blood pressure, as well as lower levels of the bad cholesterol and higher levels of the good cholesterol.
- Enhanced sleep – Practicing gratitude is linked to better sleeping patterns, such as increased sleep duration and better sleep quality.
- Consistent self-care – Regular practices of gratitude are correlated with general increased self-care and self-awareness, such as exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, and visiting the doctor for regular wellness exams.
- Decreased depression – Studies have shown that briefly touching on valued elements of life each day can help alleviate depression and boost mood.
- Less stress – Practicing acts of gratitude is connected to a decrease in cortisol levels, the stress hormone.
Ready to get started? Here are a few tips and tricks to begin your gratitude journey:
- Write them down. Begin by keeping a journal and acknowledging three things you are grateful for that day.
- Reach out. Call a friend or family member, or stop by your coworker’s desk and let them know that you appreciate them.
- Meditate. Take five minutes out of your day to breathe and focus on the good in your life.
- Write thank you notes. Make a point to always deliver handwritten thank you notes after you receive gifts or a helping hand.