Written by Amelia Evans, Freelance Writer & Community Manager
Better sleep, healthy heart, less body pains, and more. These are some of the known health benefits of being grateful. Let’s dig deep and know why gratitude helps your overall health.
How does being grateful affect your health? According to an article from Berkeley, gratitude is essential to be psychological well-being. That’s because gratitude tends to make you happier, it can improve your relationships, and it’s the best antidote for depression and even suicidal thoughts.
If gratitude can have positive effects on our mental health, how does it affect us physically? Great question! Having a healthy psychological well-being sure has benefits in our bodily functions. In fact, some studies link gratitude to fewer bodily pains and aches, better sleep and improved cardiovascular health.
While there’s more convincing before doctors start prescribing gratitude to their patients, there is enough evidence that suggests being grateful really has positive effects on our physical body.
According to researcher Jeff Huffman, “Gratitude is incredibly powerful. In fact, it’s an enliving experience. Evidence suggests that gratitude may not just bring with it good feelings, but it can even lead to a better physical health.”
Fewer health problems
Studies show that people who are grateful, regardless of age and nationality, are reported to have lesser health complaints than those who are less grateful. In fact, one study suggests that grateful participants tend to have less health problems like headaches, respiratory infections, gastrointestinal problems and sleep disturbances.
In another study they found that grateful people are less likely to have physical symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, runny nose, and stomach aches. While there’s a big question about gratitude that affects our health, reversing the question could lead to asking the same question differently; Is it possible that something else makes people both grateful and healthy?
On the same token, people who practice being grateful lead to a healthier body, the opposite could also be true; unhealthy people are less grateful. Today, researchers are beginning to explore the possibility whether engaging in gratefulness activities will lead to improved health.
Gratitude keeps your heart healthy
It’s heartwarming! Research suggests that gratitude can affect your heart’s health. According to research that started in 1995, they found out that people who are appreciative tend to have improved heart rate variability. It’s a good indicator of a healthy heart.
On the other hand, a recent study that involved a group of women who started a gratitude journal showed lower blood pressure after two weeks. Together, these studies suggest that developing the habit of gratitude can result in a healthier heart.
On the other hand, how about those who have underlying heart problems? Here’s something interesting! A recent study conducted by Red Mills and his colleagues on the effects of gratitude towards people with Stage B, asymptomatic heart failure.
Their study showed that out of the 186 participants, those who are practicing being grateful have reported less fatigue, reduced depression, they sleep better, they are more confident, they tend to care for themselves, and they are showing lower levels of systemic inflammation.
Similarly, they found out that patients who are practicing gratitude journals have lower markers of inflammation. This was only after eight weeks of practice. In addition, they even suggested that gratitude journals are a good addition for people who have heart problems.
Ultimately, gratitude can help patients who have suffered from heart attack. According to a study by Jeff Huffman and colleagues entitled, Gratitude Research in Acute Coronary Events (GRACE) showed that grateful, optimistic people tend to have improved blood vessel function after two weeks after being admitted to the hospital.
Get better sleep
Sleep is essential for our health. Sleep depravity increases the risk of developing diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, etc. However, those who are suffering from insomnia know that it’s not easy to get enough sleep. But there’s good news.
Studies show that increasing your gratitude can help you sleep better. According to the study, people who have heart failure and chronic pain who started practicing gratefulness were reported to sleep better despite their condition.
In a different study that involved 401 people, researchers found out that about 40% of sleep deprived patients have improved sleep when they started practicing gratitude. In fact, they fell asleep faster, longer, have good quality sleeping patterns and they have more energy during the day.
The study found enough evidence that the more grateful a person is, he or she tends to sleep better because they have less negative thoughts and emotions and more positive ones. As a result, they have peace of mind before bedtime.
About the Author
Amelia Evans is part of the content team at The Long Reach and works for various international brands. When Amelia is not researching and writing she loves nothing more than heading out in to the country for some downtime.