It’s that time of year when people naturally begin counting blessings. And while a boost to our level of gratitude is welcome at any time of year, we should really strive for an attitude of gratitude on a daily basis. Whether you’re fighting depression, seeking an abundance mindset, or simply want to raise your level of joy and peace, feelings of gratitude can be extremely helpful. But did you know there are scientifically documented psychological and physical benefits to feeling thankful?
Gratitude for Psychological Wellness
According to leading gratitude researcher Robert A. Emmons, PhD, feeling gratitude can help reduce myriad negative emotions, such as resentment, anger, and frustration. Emmons has completed a number of studies on gratitude and its ability to enhance feelings of well-being. These studies support his theory that gratitude can be effective at reducing or fighting depression and boosting happiness.
Other studies have shown that people who regularly practice being grateful do better in other areas that imply mental and emotional health, such as self-esteem. Gratitude has been shown to reduce stress and bolster feelings of optimism and tranquility.
In a scientific study, gratitude has also been linked to potential increases in neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine is that “feel good” neurotransmitter that helps us feel pleasure and anticipation. Serotonin is believed to affect our moods, and some researchers believe lower levels of it may be linked to depression — so it looks like the more, the better!
Gratitude for Physical Health
Gratitude has been linked to health benefits such as improved sleep, reduced fatigue, and less cellular inflammation. A 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences indicates that people who feel grateful have fewer aches and pains, and report that they generally feel healthier than those who don’t feel so grateful. The study also reports that those who feel gratitude are more likely to take care of their physical health — they exercise more frequently and are more likely to have check-ups regularly. And of course, those habits are likely to enhance longevity!
Feel More Grateful at Any Time of Year
If you want more gratitude in your life, there are plenty of simple ways to get it. How about replacing complaints with gratitude statements — both expressed and unexpressed. You can also try being more mindful in the moment, to help you pick up on the little things that enhance your life — the gentle breeze, the colors of the fall leaves, the warm and comforting feeling of your meal. Practice The Emotion Code™ to help you release negativity and allow more gratitude into your life. Embrace gratitude regularly, and you’ll probably find yourself feeling a physical and emotional boost!