Live in Gratitude
It’s almost Thanksgiving, and ‘tis the season for your mouth to start watering with thoughts of stuffing and pie, but it’s also the perfect time of year to look inwardly and to discover new ways that you can live your life in gratitude.
Experts have noted for years that focusing on positivity is good for your health. For example, Harvard Health Publishing cited a study conducted by two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami:
“One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.”
After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives
So it’s true: gratitude can make you healthier! I know that’s a glib way to distill the information collected from the study, but I encourage you to try it!
If you need a little push to get you going, we’ve made it easy for you with this printable Gratitude Journal. It’s the perfect way to start thinking positively every day. The exercises are simple—perfect for cozying up with a blanket with a cup of something warm and comforting as part of your morning routine.
If you don’t love the pen-and-paper approach, the app Gratitude Morning has a pleasant, calming design that makes it easy to find meaning in gratitude every day. It was created by Nichole Bowen-Crawford, an Army combat veteran who teaches the importance of living in gratitude. She has an M. Ed. in Counseling and Human Relations, and has been featured on CNN and in The New York Times.
If you’re in the mood to settle down and really get into the science behind how gratitude affects your health positively, there’s a 72-page white paper prepared for the John Templeton Foundation by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. Researchers have discovered how gratitude benefits people with various medical and psychological challenges. For example, one study found that:
“More grateful cardiac patients reported better sleep, less fatigue, and lower levels of cellular inflammation, and another found that heart failure patients who kept a gratitude journal for eight weeks were more grateful and had reduced signs of inflammation afterwards.”
Beyond journals, apps, and research papers, many people integrate gratitude into mediation practices, including yoga. Try this yoga practice with iFit Trainer Briohny Smyth in Thailand. As you transition from one pose to the next, express gratitude to your body for giving you the strength to move.
Get started now…take a minute and say aloud three things that you’re grateful for, then see how it changes your day for the better!