The Mental and Physical Connection of Gratitude
Gratitude is a powerful thing and we’re just scratching the surface when it comes to discovering the various mental and physical effects it has on us. Let’s look at a few of those to give you an idea of what you can expect if you start to make feeling gratitude a daily focus.
The Mental Benefits Of Gratitude
Practicing gratitude helps your overall mental health because you instantly have a better outlook on life. Don’t be surprised to walk away from your latest gratitude meditation with a big smile on your face. Of course the benefits don’t stop at increased happiness. Feeling more gratitude has been linked to a better self-image, less anxiety and even a reduction of depression. This comes as no surprise to scientists who have recorded increased levels of dopamine and serotonin after intentional gratitude meditations.
The Physical Benefits Of Gratitude
This is where it gets interesting. It's one thing to feel better emotionally, but the release of these “feel-good” hormones affects your physical body as well. Gratitude reduces stress and with it, you’re sleeping better, your blood pressure lowers, and you have more energy. As a result, you move more, leading to even better overall physical health. Maybe your gratitude exercise motivates you to go out for a walk, getting more oxygen into your body and loading up on Vitamin D. Being able to sleep soundly reduces appetite and less stress helps you make smarter food choices. All these things work hand in hand to turn you into a healthier and stronger version of yourself.
Gratitude is particularly important for heart health. Between the lower blood pressure and reduced stress, you are putting less strain on your heart. The added exercise and sleep strengthen your heart muscle and give this most important organ time to recover and heal overnight. With heart disease one of the leading causes of death in modern society, there’s never been a better time to practice gratitude and let go of stress.
How can you tap into both the mental and physical benefits of gratitude? By feeling more of it. Of course that’s easier said than done. A great place to start is by creating a habit of thinking of at least one person or one thing you are deeply grateful for each morning as soon as you wake up. It sets the tone for the whole day and gets you off to a great start to reap these powerful benefits. Give it a try!