5 Health Benefits Of Practicing Gratitude image of Ayat Sleymann RD drinking tea

5 Health Benefits Of Practicing Gratitude

You’ve probably heard of the importance of practicing gratitude, but have you ever wondered why it is so powerful?

Weight loss dietitian sharing health benefits of practicing gratitude
Gratitude is a strong emotion and studies show that cultivating gratitude leads to many health benefits

Practicing gratitude and making it a part of your everyday life has the power to rewire your brain.

So, what exactly is gratitude?

Gratitude is an appreciation of what is meaningful to you. It is the state of thankfulness.

You can actually cultivate gratitude and train yourself to constantly be thankful for the little things in life. The trick is to sit with what you have in that moment and be 100% fulfilled without wanting more.

In fact, gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. One of my favorite quotes states that, “the more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” This is because when you are in a state of gratitude, you attract more goodness to you.

After reading this, you can see why my favorite part of the day is when I get to sit down with my gratitude journal to write and think. And since mornings are hectic at my house, I prefer to do this practice in the evening right before bedtime.

In today’s blog post, I will be sharing 5 health benefits of gratitude.

5 Health Benefits Of Practicing Gratitude

Gratitude improves your physical health and energy levels

Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and are generally healthier. Studies published showed that grateful people are more likely to take care of themselves; physically, mentally and emotionally. In fact, according to a study published in Personality and Individual Differences, grateful people are more likely to take care of themselves. A study showed that those that express gratitude regularly have 16 percent lower diastolic blood pressure and 10 percent lower systolic blood pressure compared to those less grateful.

Gratitude improves mental health

Gratitude reduces the effect of many toxic emotions and replaces them with positive emotions. With social media, it can be so easy to fall into a toxic mindset that leads to negative emotions like jealousy, frustration, resentment, and regret. But, grateful people are able to appreciate themselves more and other people’s accomplishments. This improves confidence and self esteem.

Gratitude improves sleep

The consistent practice of gratitude improves sleep. I have experienced this benefit personally. For the past year, I have gotten into the practice of expressing gratitude when I go to bed instead of letting my mind worry and stress. I fall asleep so much faster and I feel my body physically relax.

According to a study published in the journal of Applied Psychology, if you spend just 15 minutes writing down a few grateful statements before bed, you’ll sleep better and longer.  

Gratitude teaches you resilience

Life isn’t perfect and bad things happen. But inside every negative experience is a positive experience waiting for you to realize it. Eliminating or reducing the negative self-talk develops stronger physiological health habits which go with you for the rest of your life. Feelings of gratitude allows you to become more accepting of everything that happens in life — the good, the bad, and the ugly. And the process of being able to deal with the negative, instead of self-sabotaging and having a victim mindset, creates the opportunity for growth and transformation.

Gratitude improves empathy

Finding suggests that gratitude and grateful people are more likely to be sensitive and empathetic towards other people, even when others behave less kindly. It helps you see another perspective and take time to register your feelings before you react in a way that you may regret later. This helps the greater good especially in today’s stressed world.

Personally I’ve noticed a huge shift in my relationship with my kids ever since I started practicing gratitude. I have so much more patience which has led me to spend more time playing with them and being fully present in the moment with them.

Here are some easy ways to count your blessings and  feel grateful in your daily life

Dedicate a gratitude journal

If you are someone who’d love to start journaling but you can’t seem to make the habit stick, try this. Dedicate a gratitude journal and a specific pen just for writing gratitudes. These are the ones I use and they’ve helped me stay consistent. I used to write my gratitude on random paper but it never felt organized and it made the habit harder to stick to. Once I bought a separate journal and pen solely for the practice of gratitude, the habit was easier to stick to.

Practice mindfulness

In order to have gratitude, you must be present in your life, right now. Be grateful for what you have today and don’t get stuck in constantly chasing the next thing. Spend time away from phones and laptops and take time to be present with whatever it is you’re doing. Remember that in this current moment, you have everything you need. Tell yourself a few affirmations like you are strong, capable, and resilient. You can choose to carry peace, beauty, and gratitude within your heart.

Be expansive

This means making sure you’re focusing on being grateful for people and environments, and not just for things that money can buy. For example, I’ve really gotten into the habit of saying out loud “thank you sun for shining so brightly today” and my kids love hearing me say that. It instantly puts me in a good mood and it teaches my kids gratitude at a young age.

A quick little tip: use all of your senses to expand your everyday experience of the world. What can you notice about visuals, sounds, smells, tastes, and touch? Even being grateful for something you take granted for, like being able to walk, run and stretch does an amazing job at shifting your mood.

Something important I’d like to end this post with is, just because you are taking time to feel grateful does not mean that everything in your life is always great.  It just means you are aware of your blessings.

Also, gratitude doesn’t usually appear on its own. It’s something you need to choose and cultivate. It’s a habit you can build; a mindset you have the power to shape. 

OK, now it’s your turn: what are you grateful for today? It can just be one word if you want. Make your gratitude post on social media and tag me @momnutritionist so I can re-post it!

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