A healthy diet and regular exercise can do a lot for your mental health – but so can gratitude. As we approach the holidays, and specifically one where we dedicate an entire day to fellowship and giving thanks, we want to tell you the health benefits of being thankful.
Countless studies prove the benefits of thankfulness, and we’re here to tell you the top ten reasons to promote gratitude to promote your healthiness and happiness.
- Gratitude improves psychological health.
Gratitude increases energy levels, so grateful people are more likely to have physical and mental vigor. People with gratitude cope easier and are more likely to seek out social support in hard times. It reduces negative feelings, like envy, and promotes positivity.
Taking the time to name a few things we’re thankful for simply makes us happy. It makes us realize there are good things in our lives, even amidst the bad.
- Gratitude improves physical health.
Studies show that the more you practice gratitude, the more likely you are to exercise. And the more you exercise, the more endorphins in your body and the happier you are.
Ninety-six Americans in an 11-week study proved that people who reflect on being grateful for their health were more likely to maintain it. Those who were instructed to keep a weekly gratitude journal spent 40 more minutes working out per week than the control group.
- Gratitude is good for your relationships.
When people keep a gratitude journal, studies show that they are more likely to be social and comfort others through hard times. Another study showed that simply saying “thank you” can help you make new friends.
Gratitude helps with marriages, too. Saying “thank you” to your spouse can make him or her feel more appreciated, thereby increasing the positivity in your relationship.
- Gratitude helps you sleep.
A study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being brings to light the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal. People who spend a few minutes writing down things they are thankful for before bed can help them sleep soundly.
- Gratitude increases productivity.
If you’re psychologically and physically healthy, if you have strong relationships and get decent amounts of sleep, then you’re bound to be productive. When gratitude is present in your mind and you’re not overwhelmed by worries or anxieties, you’re able to focus better. The confidence gained from gratitude also allows people to be more productive.
It’s not always easy to be thankful. Some days are just bad days. But when we can train our brain to practice gratitude frequently, our mental health can improve significantly. This Thanksgiving, remember that practicing gratitude doesn’t have to happen on just one day of the year. In fact, it’s better for you if you practice it every day!