Everyone always counts their blessings at Thanksgiving, but hopefully after reading this you will begin to have a heart of gratitude all year long! With my faith I strive to always be thankful for the blessings that I have been given, but there are also scientific proven facts of the ways that gratefulness affects you mentally and physically. Our minds are powerful and our emotions play a huge role in this. In this blog I have compiled five scientific facts that show the benefits of gratefulness.
1. Improves Psychological Health
The benefits of gratefulness include reducing many toxic emotions including jealousy and bitterness and frustration and regret. Many studies have been done that show that an increase in gratefulness will increase the feel good hormones which lowers the risk of depression and anxiety. Choosing to focus on the good in your life rather than the bad is a choice, especially in the midst of a hard season or moment in life, but if you can really learn to do that it will always end in positive results.
2. Improves Sleep
A study from 2011, found that people who spent 15 minutes jotting down things they were thankful for actually found that they slept better and longer. It’s taking the time to think about the people and moments that you are truly grateful for and letting your mind rest on those instead of worries, fears, and unknowns can truly help your sleep be deeper and sweeter. This is one of my favorite benefits of gratefulness. Research found that people not only sleep better, but longer and it reduces the time it takes to fall asleep!
3. Strengthens Mind When Handling Stress
A lot of research has been done on the ability of gratefulness to not only reduce stress but help you handle trauma when it comes. In 2006, a study found that Veterans who had high levels of gratefulness experienced lower levels of post traumatic stress disorder than those who had a hard time being grateful. Being able to stop and recognize all you have to be thankful for, even in the midst of a hard season, can help you get through and overcome your circumstance.
4. Boosts Self-Esteem
Research has found that a benefit of gratefulness is that it boosts your self-esteem which can be very helpful for all areas of life. A study in 2014 was done on athletes and it found that gratitude increased their confidence which helped them get to optimal performance in their sports. When we can find those things to be grateful for, we stop comparing ourselves and we begin to love our life and who we are as a person. This is so important, not just in sports but in school, in our vocations, and families and communities. Being able to say to yourself that, “The only person I want to be in this room is me”, is a game changer. And to know that this starts with a grateful heart and mindset makes it very achievable.
5. Less Sick
Another incredible benefits of gratefulness is it’s affect on our immune systems. It is so powerful it can boost your body’s protection against viruses and sickness that we come in contact with every day. Yes, our emotions affect our bodies in many ways, and since gratitude is a positive emotion, the side effects are healthy! Gratitude reduces levels of stress and improves the function of the immune system. Some research has shown that people who practice different exercises of gratefulness have lower blood pressure, go to the doctor less often, and have an overall healthier mind.