Science Proves Gratitude Changes Our Physiology

We are often told, “Stop feeling sorry for yourself.” That never really helped me much. Sometimes it’s hard to avoid self-pity entirely, however choosing to exchange self-pity for gratitude can be very powerful in a multitude of ways. Countless studies published in prominent journals over the past decade have shown that people who count their blessings are less depressed and experience more joy and happiness.

I’ve found by writing a few sentences in my gratitude journal before bed, I sleep much better and usually wake up with a positive attitude. Sometimes when I’m too tired to write, I simply take a few moments to silently acknowledge what went right today, and who and what I am thankful for. There are so many proven benefits to practicing gratitude!

  1. Gratitude can improve our physical health

    According to a study publishes in Personality and Individual Differences in 2012, people who practice gratitude experience less pain. They also tend to pay more attention to their physical health. They may be more likely to eat healthier, exercise more, and practice mental self-care.

  2. Gratitude helps our mental health

    Counting our blessings actually helps us rid toxic emotions like envy, self-pity, anger, and annoyance. The research of Robert A. Emmons, Ph. D, has taught us that gratitude truly helps reduce depression and improve our self-image.

  3. Gratitude helps us sleep better

    According to a study in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being performed in 2011, writing a gratitude list or simply thinking about our blessings before bed can help us sleep better.

  4. Gratitude improves our self esteem

    In 2014, a study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology confirmed that gratitude boosts the self-esteem in athletes, helping them perform to the best of their ability. Gratitude also helps us avoid social comparison, reducing resentment and helping us build a positive self-image.

“In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life become rich.”   – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Being cheerful keeps you healthy. It is slow death to be gloomy all the time.”   – Proverbs 17:22
 
Sources

7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude, by Amy Morin in Psychology Today

Want to be successful? Have an attitude of gratitude!, Dr. Caroline Leaf, Ph. D.

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