This time of year, thankfulness is top of mind, and we pay extra attention to ways in which we can express our gratitude.
For some, gratitude manifests as an external act like telling someone you are grateful for them or doing something kind for someone. For others, gratitude is a state of mind, an opportunity to reflect inwards on the positive aspects of your life whether through journaling, meditation, volunteering or even prayer. No matter how you practice gratitude, there are big benefits in doing so - physically and mentally!
Gratitude boosts the immune system. Stress, as you know, is awful for the immune system as it lowers the immune response making it more susceptible to bodily threats. However, by practicing gratitude you lower your stress level and increase your mental well-being which supports your immune system and ultimately helps your body ward off illness.
Gratitude improves mental health. Regularly practicing gratitude can help with anxiety and depression and studies show that gratitude is linked to mood (remember that gut-brain connection?).
Gratitude increases optimism. Being optimistic has many health benefits including healthy aging. In fact, studies show that a daily gratitude practice helps you feel more positive about your present life and future.
Gratitude improves relationships. When you are happy with yourself, you are a better friend and partner. Gratitude helps you form new relationships and strengthen those that exist.
Gratitude helps you sleep better. Studies show that more grateful people fall asleep more quickly, sleep longer and have better sleep quality. Those who don't get enough quality sleep are more prone to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as the common cold. Good sleep is vital for your health.
Practicing gratitude may be more relevant during this season of giving, but at the end of the day it's good for you no matter what time of year. So, consider starting a daily gratitude practice today!