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Does a Grateful Attitude Benefit Your Health?

Around this time of year, every year people talk about what they are grateful for.  While this grateful attitude is an amazing spiritual benefit, did you know that gratitude also has physical health benefits?  We have some great news for you!  You can start to improve your physical health just by adopting gratitude into your life!

Improve Your Stress With Being Grateful

We realize that it is no secret that stress has negative impact on your health.  Newer research has proven that adopting gratitude into your life is a great way to combat the negative effects of stress.  When you perceive gratitude as a permanent part of your life and not just a Thanksgiving day state of mind you give yourself an edge over people who do not strive to live a grateful life.  It has been proven that grateful people actually take better care of themselves and will actually seek to take proactive health behaviors such as exercise, healthy diet and regular physical exams.  Adopting gratefulness into your daily life is also proven to help you with improved hormone balance, immune function, improved ability to relax and decreased levels of disease.

The Gratitude Paradox

Do you find yourself thinking “If only I had ____, I would be happy” or “If I didn’t  have to deal with ____, I would be happy”?  This is a vicious cycle of thinking.  Gratitude and happiness need to be the first step and not the goal to work toward.  If you make the choice to be happy and practice gratitude you are choosing to put your health, performance and ability to do things first.  This step is crucial to improving your physical health, it is not just about losing weight and looking slim that is a true sign of health.  You can be in peak physical shape and still be unhealthy and worse, not be in a good mental place.  When approaching total physical health you need to not just think about the body but the mind and spirit as well.

But Negativity is Easier!

It is so easy to sit back and just say “be grateful!” however, biologically this process does not come easily.  Lets take ourselves for example.  You are more than likely reading this on a computer or a smart phone.  Already your living conditions are better than the large majority of the world population.  Have you eaten a good meal today?  Do you wear adequate clothing?  Do you have friends and a social support system and family members you can talk to regularly?  If you answered yes to most or all of these questions then you have a lot to be grateful for.

However, you probably dwell on financial problems or a negative comment from someone or even that one thing you wish you could change about your body.  It makes sense because we are wired to pay attention to things that could be a potential negative or harmful to your survival instinct but this often backfires in our world of internet and social media.  All of this makes gratitude very difficult however, when it becomes part of your daily attitude, you will find that it will come easier to ignore the negative.

The Gratitude Habit

The good news, adopting a grateful attitude is entirely possible and possibly one of the easiest changes that you can make in your life in order to better your health.  In fact a few simple changes can have a big impact!

  • Make a daily list- At the end of the day, sit down and make a list of a few things that you are grateful for that particular day.  It can be the smallest thing such as your growing garden or the fact that you have a working dishwasher.  conversely it can be big things like your children or thoughtful spouse.  These lists will help keep the focus on the many blessings in your life which in turn abates the negative.  If you want to set the tone for your day to one of gratitude then this can be done first thing in the morning.
  • Write a gratitude letter- every so often, if you sit down to write letters to friends and family members and thank them for their influence in your life and detail the reasons that you are grateful for them, you will find that gratitude flows easily and you brighten someones day.
  • Random acts of kindness- do a small, unnoticed good deed each day.  You will find that this increases your gratitude and helps you look for the good in all situations.

We will leave you with a quote from Martha Washington:

I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.

If you are looking for more ways to relax be sure to take a look at our massage services.  You will be grateful that you did!