Gratitude is Good for Your Health!

Gratitude is Good for Your Health!

When we think about gratitude, we often think about the mental health benefits. When we are thanked, our kindness seems acknowledged and validated. When we express appreciation we strengthen our interpersonal relationships, we build our confidence, and feel part of a community. Gratitude, however, also has a lot of benefits on our physical health.

If medication from the doctor could do everything that gratitude can do, we would all be taking a pill every day! It helps us to reset our brains, rather than focusing on problem solving. If we live gratefully, we will become more appreciative and we will in fact be healthier.

Practicing deep gratitude means we are always in a positive mindset. It is thought that to truly reap the health benefits we should practice gratitude daily. We can start from the moment we wake up, thinking about all the things that we are grateful for, whether it is grateful for being alive, grateful for our friends, our family, our homes and our jobs. We can reflect on the previous day and the acts of kindness that were shown to us and make a gratitude to-do list for the day, making sure we thank all those people.

Our behaviour changes our biology. When we act in a positive way, when we are kind to others, or when we are grateful for the kindness of others, we release oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin, the positive hormones. We also fire up the positive neural networks in the brain.

It is useful to track our gratitude, by keeping a gratitude journal. All the time we spend reflecting on those grateful moments, we are spending time focusing on positive moments, we are building up our gratitude bank! It is not possible to hold negative reflections in our minds, simultaneously with the positive ones.

Gratitude practices are very similar to practices of mindfulness, they keep us grounded in a positive present moment. The results of gratitude and mindfulness are also the same, it spurs us on to try to be healthier. Grateful people tend to get more exercise and look after themselves better.

Robert A Emmons, a leading scholar in positive psychology said:

"Studies have shown that grateful people engage in more exercise, have better dietary behaviors, are less likely to smoke and abuse alcohol, and have higher rates of medication adherence." He adds: "Today, a host of new studies are examining the effects of gratitude on health outcomes, using state-of-the-art measures of bio- markers of health and aging, and clinical trials indicate that the practice of gratitude can have dramatic and lasting effects on a person's life."

People who live gratefully have been shown to have higher levels of alertness, vitality and enthusiasm. They are more determined, attentive and have more energy. Practicing deep gratitude also helps people to sleep better, both in the amount of sleep and the quality of the rest! Gratitude even reduces the physical symptoms of illness, such as headaches, coughing, nausea, or pain!

Expressing gratitude not only makes us kinder, more positive and happier, it also makes us healthier. The new and improved TAP app is a great way to carry the power of gratitude in our pockets, so let's keep on spreading positivity through the power of gratitude and make a big difference to both our psychological and physical health!