Whether going around the Thanksgiving table and sharing what you’re thankful for is your family’s tradition or not, there are plenty of benefits to practicing gratitude. Research shows expressing gratitude in your daily life has physical, mental, emotional and social benefits. How and where you show appreciation is up to you. You can practice gratitude in several ways, including:
● Keeping a gratitude journal
● Telling someone how thankful you are for them
● Writing a note or sending a gift to someone expressing your gratitude
● Reflecting on the positive things in your life (through meditation or prayer)
Once you’ve established how you’d like to keep gratitude at the forefront of your life, you can begin to reap the many health benefits of its practice, such as:
1. Increased happiness
Gratitude can do a wealth of good for your mental well-being. When you express gratitude, you’re in a calm, content state of mind. This is when your parasympathetic nervous system is activated, decreasing your cortisol levels (stress hormones) and boosting your “happy hormones” like oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin. The opposite of this relaxed state is a feeling we know all too well: stress. When you’re stressed or worried, you experience a “fight or flight” response in the sympathetic nervous system, where cortisol is released and your heart rate and blood pressure spike. Chronic stress can have serious effects on your health, resulting in inflammation throughout the whole body. When you raise your gratitude quotient, it’s the complete opposite effect: a boosted immune system and long-term positive effects on your mental health.
2. Improved physical health
As we touched on, when you’re in a state of gratitude, your body’s stress hormones drop. Lowering this inflammatory response can have a wide range of positive effects on your physical health. Several recent studies have shown that those who consider themselves grateful have fewer health issues, including fewer aches and pains, respiratory infections and gastrointestinal issues. While more research is needed on this study, it’s evident that gratitude improves your mental well-being, which in turn can motivate you to take better care of your health. Whether that’s exercising more or being more likely to attend annual check-ups, expressing thankfulness can lead to healthier lifestyle decisions.
3. Better sleep
Positive feelings associated with gratitude are not exclusive to the daytime. Cultivating gratitude throughout the day can help improve your quality of sleep at bedtime. When your stress levels are down, you’re more likely to fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer and wake up feeling and looking refreshed. You heard that right, gratitude has beauty benefits too! Better sleep stimulates regeneration and acceleration of skin cell turnover, revealing a brighter skin tone, reduced lines and wrinkles and improved dark circles.
See the glowing difference by incorporating gratitude into your daily routine this holiday season. To get started with our team at Chesapeake Vein Center and MedSpa, reach out today by calling 757.663.5461 or requesting a consultation online.