As you celebrate the holidays and plan for a healthier more active you in the new year, give yourself a timeout. Take time to step away from the frenetic hustle and bustle and think seriously about gratitude during the year that is ending. One of my many caveats with my clients is to remind them that the well-being life has many facets and gratitude is one of the important elements.
Dr. Robert A. Emmons, psychology professor at UC Berkley and leading scientific expert on gratitude shares that gratitude heals, energizes and transforms lives. In researching gratitude, Emmons found that those who keep a gratitude journal, recording the things they are grateful for have a lower dietary fat intake, lower levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, and may actually reduce the effects of aging on the brain.
Other benefits of reflecting on those things that you are appreciative of are well-being, quality sleep and an optimistic outlook.
People, who have embraced gratitude as a state of mind, take better care of themselves. They engage in regular physical activity, maintain a healthy diet and get regular physical exams. Additionally, research on patients with heart damage found that higher gratitude scores were linked to a better outlook, more quality sleep and less inflammation which can worsen the symptoms of heart failure.
Better Sleep Health
For folks who struggle with getting to sleep, taking 15 minutes to write down a couple of things you are grateful for can aid in quieting busy minds and reducing worrisome thoughts that often kick in as you try to go to sleep. Take a new tactic in the sleep countdown—count your blessings, not those sheep!
In focusing on gratitude and the positive things in your universe, you can easily develop or change your outlook to one of positivity. Studies have found that an optimistic outlook can aid in reducing stress, boosting the immune system and lowering blood pressure. Research has found that optimism or seeing the glass half full early in life is a predictor of better health.
Embracing and practicing gratitude is not difficult; you can practice gratitude by:
Being aware and acknowledging what other people do for you
Expressing appreciation for opportunities
Communicating appreciation by thanking people and doing nice things for others
An attitude of gratitude is one of the easiest and economical things to do. Here are a few ideas to get started on gratitude goals:
Volunteer in your community.
Hand write a thank you note
Share a healthful recipe with your walking group or exercise class.
Smile when you answer the phone to communicate that you are pleased to hear from the person calling.
Give at least one compliment daily.
In thinking about the plans and goals you’d like to accomplish in the coming year, add a healthy dose of gratitude which will benefit each step you make on the path to well-being.
Take Away: Be grateful and express gratitude, as a key ingredient for a health and well-being.
Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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