Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Gratitude & health

So Thanksgiving is over. And everyone is moving on to the next holiday. For sure, the stores have moved on. Actually, they were pushing Christmas well before Thanksgiving—even before Halloween, in many cases.

But do we really have to move on from giving thanks? Isn't that something that can continue? Can't that be a regular part of our lives?

In fact, studies show that gratitude is even good for our health. One survey done by R.A. Emmons and M.E. McCullough showed that people who experience gratitude are in better physical health, sleep better and spend more time exercising. Another study showed that people with an "attitude of gratitude" had lower levels of stress hormones in their blood. And yet another one showed gratitude undoing the cardiovascular after-effects of negative emotions.

So giving thanks on an ongoing basis doesn't just make us more aware of all the good things that always are part of our lives—it is healthier for us. We can find many reasons to make gratitude a daily practice. One day a year really isn't sufficient.

Why not find a way to incorporate gratitude into your daily routine? You can find your own unique way to do so: write in a gratitude journal each morning or evening, think of five things for which you're grateful as soon as you awaken each morning, let the first red light you approach on your way to work be a cue to think of several things, or whatever creative practice you can imagine that fits with your lifestyle. Here's to your health!

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