A positive outlook can bring health benefits.Although most of us appreciate all that we have in life, studies suggest that taking time to focus on our gratitude benefits our health and well-being.
In studies authors defined “gratitude” as an affirmation of goodness in our life. Gratitude includes the recognition that goodness comes from outside our own being- other people, a higher power, or a benevolent world. Studies in which participants kept gratitude journals at least four days a week reported significant improvements in scores of depression, stress, and happiness. Other studies have shown a host of benefits that include:increased levels of oxytocin (a relaxing hormone)decreased levels of cortisol (a stress hormone)decreased symptoms of depressionimproved painincreased life satisfactiondecreased blood pressureimprovements in self-careimproved satisfaction in interpersonal relationshipsTry taking a few moments each day to write down at least one thing for which you are grateful. The world can feel like a more giving place and we can recognize the kindness of others when we focus on the good. Remember to remain focused on what you receive rather than what you are missing and avoid comparing yourself to others. Simply appreciate and write a quick note of thanks.
This article describes additional health benefits of keeping a gratitude journal and even more ways to practice gratitude. I am always grateful for my clients and their continued inspiration.