Want to know a secret for feeling more in control of your life? It’s expressing gratitude. New research has found that a sincere “thank you” is not only great for the person receiving it but offers measurable health benefits for the person feeling it as well.
In this article published by the Orange County Register, Osmond Marketing founder Amy Osmond Cook shares five ways that gratitude is good for you. Here are some of the article’s highlights.
New research gives new meaning to people with “big hearts.” Studies show that gratitude improves heart health by lowering blood pressure, signs of inflammation, and cholesterol levels. Being grateful and expressing gratitude also maintains a healthy brain.
Can gratitude stave off early signs of depression? Experts say yes. “Finding reasons to be grateful can help people fight symptoms of depression, especially if you make gratitude a regular part of your life,” says Amy Doan, administrator at Smith Ranch Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. “It can help you feel more optimistic and push away negative thoughts.”
Better sleeping habits
If you have trouble getting quality sleep, don’t count sheep; count your blessings instead. Linda Wasmer Andrews at Psychology Today explains that when you focus on gratitude throughout the day, the positive thoughts and feelings you’ve collected will help you fall asleep at bedtime.
“Rather than ruminating over the friend who forgot to call, you’re thinking of the coworker who stayed late to help you,” says Andrews. “Instead of obsessing over bills, you’re thinking of the new client you just landed. With positive thoughts as a lullaby, you’re more likely to drift off into a peaceful slumber.”
It’s good to feel gracious, but studies show that people who share those feelings of gratitude with others experience higher levels of happiness. Along with voicing your feelings, studies show that writing about the things you appreciate also contributes to your happiness. Experts suggest keeping a journal and adding daily entries that list the things for which you are most grateful.
During these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to focus on the good things in our lives. While we may not be able to control the circumstances, we can control how we react to these situations and try to find the bright side of things. Multiple studies have found that people who felt grateful show reduced levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. “By merely acknowledging and appreciating the little things in life, we can rewire the brain to deal with the present circumstances with more awareness and broader perception,” says PositivePsychology.com contributor Madhuleena Roy Chowdhury.
If there is one thing you can do right now to make things seem better, it’s to build a sense of gratitude. From improving physical and mental health to improving sleep and reducing stress, one of the secrets to happiness can be summed up in two words: thank you.
Click here to read the full OC Register article.