22 July 2019

The Health Benefits of Practicing Gratitude

You have probably heard people talking about gratitude journals or seen one around, and you may be wondering ‘are there any health benefits of gratitude?’

There are countless benefits of gratitude, many particular to health. Let’s first go over a couple ways that you can practice gratitude.

Ways to practice gratitude

  • When you first wake up every morning, write down 5 things that you are grateful. Don’t overthink it! Just do a free-write. (It’s also incredibly powerful to look back on your gratitude list.)
  • In times of stress, speak about all that you are grateful out loud by yourself or with a loved one. There are health benefits of gratitude attitude that will fuel more positivity and momentum.

Now let’s go over some of the health benefits of gratitude.

Health benefits of gratitude

Reduce stress levels

When you focus on what you are grateful for, you are focusing on the positive aspects of your life. This is an effective way to reduce stress levels and focus on the ‘good’. Practicing gratitude can also be transformative during times of stress. Say you are stressed about your job, for example. You can change your frame of mind when you feel yourself shift into stress mode about it and instead focus on how grateful you are to have a job and be making an income.

Read also: Useful mental stress relaxation techniques.

Strengthen your immune system

Your immune system being in a healthy state is crucial for your physical and mental health. When you practice gratitude, you are calming your entire system and giving the ‘good’ the chance to best support your body in a relaxed state. In a more scientific standing, it has been shown that practicing gratitude increases levels of immunoglobulin A, an antibody that protects your body against viruses.

Activates the parasympathetic system

When you are in ‘parasympathetic’ mode, your nervous system is in ‘rest-and-digest’ mode. This has a number of positive effects, including giving your body the opportunity to focus on healing rather than responding to outside stressors and the outside world in general. It is crucial for everyone to shift into this mode consistently so their body can experience the healing and ‘reboot’ done here.

Encourages you to practice more self-care

When experiencing feelings of gratefulness and positivity, many people find that they have the momentum to continue on with taking even better care of themselves. After writing down 10 things you are thankful for, after perhaps writing down ‘my health’ or ‘meeting a new friend at the gym’, you will be more inclined to engage in more healthy habits that support your health.

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