‘Tis the season to be thankful. Though it may be seen as an uplifting tradition, the simple practice of gratitude can have a more significant impact than one might think.
According to various studies, taking a moment to practice gratitude — the act of being thankful — can influence aspects of your mental health1 and, surprisingly, your physical health. Gratitude, appreciation and optimism have been found to help:
- Boost your mood2
- Manage stress, anxiety and depression34
- Improve sleep quality5
- Increase immune function6
- Reduce cardiovascular health risks7
With all these benefits, gratitude does not need to be restricted to one day a year. Instead, it is something worth implementing into your everyday health routine. Some easy forms of gratitude include:
- Journaling: Start by writing down one thing you are grateful for before bed.
- Sharing with others: Let others know when you are grateful for something they bring to the moment.
- Mental practice: Try taking a minute of gratitude — this can be a moment of quiet when you meditate, fall asleep, eat lunch, or even start a meeting.
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- Frontiers in Psychology. A Potential Role for mu-Opioids in Mediating the Positive Effects of Gratitude. Accessed November 7, 2022.
- Frontiers in Psychology. Gratitude as Mood Mediates the Effects of a 6-Weeks Gratitude Intervention on Mental Well-Being: Post hoc Analysis of a Randomized Controlled Trial. Accessed November 7, 2022.
- American Psychological Association. The role of gratitude in the development of social support, stress, and depression: Two longitudinal studies. Accessed November 7, 2022.
- Psychotherapy Research. Does gratitude writing improve the mental health of psychotherapy clients? Evidence from a randomized controlled trial. Accessed November 7, 2022.
- Journal of Psychosomatic Research. A systematic review of gratitude interventions: Effects on physical health and health behaviors. Accessed November 7, 2022.
- Psychological Science. Optimistic Expectancies and Cell-Mediated Immunity: The Role of Positive Affect. Accessed November 7, 2022.
- American Psychological Association. A Grateful Heart is a Healthier Heart. Accessed November 7, 2022.