Yes, free! Doing so is a matter of exercising your ability to cultivate one thing. Just one thing– GRATITUDE.
Whether you acknowledge what you have in a journal or pause momentarily to silently express it, gratitude transforms your life. More and more researchers are identifying the health benefits associated with it. I was surprised and inspired by its life altering benefits!
I encourage you to consider seven transformative facts about gratitude that numerous studies reveal:
It improves physical health: Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and report feeling healthier than other people, according to a 2012 study published in Personalityand Individual Differences. Grateful people are more likely to take care of their health, exercise more often, have lowerblood pressure, healthier immune function and sleep more efficiently, according to Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at UC Davis.
It improves psychological health: Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Robert Emmons, a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.
It increases mental strength: In addition to reducing stress, gratitude may also play a major role in overcoming trauma. A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of post-traumatic stress disorder.
It improves heart health: Gratitude encourages better heart health, including less inflammation and healthier heart rhythms, according to the University of California San Diego’s School of Medicine. It also does the opposite of what stress does (stress can be associated with heart disease) by helping people feel more connected with themselves and their environment.
It boosts your immune system: Those who practice gratitude are more likely to have the presence of disease-fighting cells in their bodies, according to observations by researchers at the universities of Utah and Kentucky.
It sooths the nervous system: Being grateful triggers the parasympathetic or calming part of the nervous system. That has protective benefits on the body – including decreasing cortisol (nature’s built-in alarm system) levels and possibly increasing oxytocin (a hormone released when people snuggle or bond socially).
It recruits other positive emotions: Gratefulness becomes a way of perceiving and interpreting life. As a result, it recruits other positive emotions with direct physical benefits, most likely through the immune or endocrine systems.
The most exciting aspect of gratitude, in my humble opinion, is the fact that it’s a learnable skill. In fact, it’s even been referred to as a survival skill.
GROWING YOUR GRATITUDE IS AS EASY AS THESE FOUR STEPS:
Committingto a daily gratitude practice
Acknowledgingwhat you’re grateful for at the same time every day (For example, in the morning when you awaken, before eating a meal or while you’re falling asleep)
Executingyour gratitude moments
Reflectingon your emotions during your gratitude practice
Some people are wired for gratitude. Others are not. Which best describes you? I’d love to learn how gratitude is altering your life and the lives of those around you.