SEASON FOR GRATITUDE (PART 1)

19
Nov

SEASON FOR GRATITUDE (PART 1)

THE MANY BENEFITS OF GRATITUDE
We wanted to split this up into two blog posts. Part 1 is going to deep dive into the many benefits of cultivating a
gratitude practice. Whether you already have one and are fine tuning it or are working on developing habits and
practices read on….
Physical Health Benefits of a Gratitude Practice
What is all this buzz lately about practicing gratitude? Isn’t it good enough to just say thank you when someone
does something nice for you?
The truth is there are numerous health benefits to you from the daily practice of gratitude. Establishing a habit
to think about and write down your thoughts about gratitude will create tremendous shifts in your mental and
physical health. The practice of gratitude on a regular basis has been shown to be the number one way to
increase your overall life satisfaction.
Dr. Robert Emmons, a psychology professor from UC Davis, is one of the most often quoted experts on the study of
gratitude. He and others have been conducting scientific experiments over the past 2 decades. Their research
shows that there are quite a few advantages to regularly tap into the tremendous power of simply counting your
blessings.
Here are key health benefits that studies have found are available to you when you regularly practice gratitude:
Lower Blood Pressure
Studies show that people who are regular practitioners of thankfulness have lowered blood pressure. A reduction
of 16% diastolic and 10% systolic blood pressure has been noted. These lower readings are seen both at rest and
when stressed.
Less Risk For Heart Disease
C-reactive protein, a marker of heart disease and cardiac inflammation, is also lower in those individuals who
practice gratitude. This is an important benefit since the leading cause of death in the US for both sexes happens
to be heart disease.
Stronger Immune System
You will also benefit from a strengthened immune system when you establish a regular thankfulness practice.
Optimism is higher when you focus on all that you have vs. obsessing over all that you lack. Optimism lowers the
level of stress hormones such as cortisol. Stress and cortisol interferes with your immune system. Your body is
able to increase the number of infection-fighting immune cells when stress hormones are reduced.
Improved Sleep
Instead of counting sheep to fall asleep, you will achieve better results when you count your blessings. A regular
gratitude practice will lower the incidence of insomnia and improve sleep quality. Keep in mind that poor sleep is

a contributing factor to attention issues, obesity and moodiness/relationship challenges. Improving sleep quality
creates a beneficial domino effect with other areas in your life and your health.
Improved Biomarkers for Diabetes
Hemoglobin A1c, a biomarker for glucose control in the body, was found to decrease by as much as 13% for those
who engage in regular thankfulness. This could be related to the finding that dietary fat intake diminishes by as
much as a quarter less when people routinely write in a gratitude journal. This means that for those with a
diagnosis of diabetes, sugar control improves with less variability in the highs and lows. And if you are heading
towards developing diabetes, a lowered Hemoglobin A1c indicates that the condition is now heading in a
favorable direction.
These are just 5 health benefits, there are so many! As the great poet Rumi stated, “Wear gratitude like a cloak
and it will feed every corner of your life.”
Mental Health Benefits of Gratitude
As much as some of us would like to be able to control every aspect of our lives…we can’t! But when we can
control is our attitude towards what does happen to us. We all experience and continue to experience “trying”
times in our lives. The WHAT in these situations is less important than the HOW.
How we react and move through these particular situations will determine their affect on our physical, mental,
and emotional well being. Up to 40% of our happiness comes from how we choose to approach our lives.
Especially during “trying” times we focus on all of our problems. We then get in the habit of focusing our
attention on all the negative things happening in our lives.
What would happen instead if we switched that focus to all of the good things that happen to us each and
everyday? What if we took time daily or weekly to reflect on things we are grateful for in our lives?


Gratitude is the forgotten factor in happiness research.
Grateful individuals
 Report higher levels of positive emotions
 Have greater life satisfaction
 Experience greater vitality
 Are more optimistic
 Are healthier
 Build strong relationships
 Handle adversity better
 Experience lower levels of depression and stress
People who have a strong disposition toward gratitude have the capacity to be empathetic and to take the
perspective of others. They are also rated as more generous and more helpful. Grateful individuals place less
importance on material goods, are less likely to judge their own and others success in terms of possessions
accumulated and are less envious of others.
A study done by, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the
University of Miami, showed that those individuals who practiced weekly gratitude were more optimistic and felt
better about their lives.

During the study, one group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A
second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had upset them. While a third group wrote about
events that had affected them but there was not an emphasis on being positive or negative. The first group who
wrote about what they were grateful for also exercised more and had fewer visits to the doctor than those whose
focused on daily irritations.
Benefits of Gratitude for Relationships
Gratitude doesn’t just benefit your physical and mental health; it can also transform all of your relationships.
Here are just a few ways that gratitude can improve your friendships, connections, and relationships…
Gratitude Heals Relationships
It’s easy to focus on what your spouse is doing wrong or how you feel your friend is failing you. But often, these
attitudes toward others create a negative loop. Instead of focusing on what others should or shouldn’t doing,
think on what you love about them.
Gratitude Strengthens and Deepens Relationships
You may not realize it but when you’re grateful, it shows up in your relationships. For example, if you’re grateful
for your loved one, you’re likely to demonstrate this without even realizing it. You take the time to listen to when
they call, you offer to help with difficult tasks, or you do an enjoyable activity together.
When you express gratitude in your relationships, the other person feels valued and heard. As a result, they want
to deepen the connection with you, too. Often, this creates a continuous cycle of generosity that contributes to
positive feelings on both sides.
Let your loved ones know you appreciate them. Relationships are precious and we should value them.

Benefits of Gratitude for Relationships
Gratitude doesn’t just benefit your physical and mental health; it can also transform all of your relationships.
Here are just a few ways that gratitude can improve your friendships, connections, and relationships…
Gratitude Heals Relationships
It’s easy to focus on what your spouse is doing wrong or how you feel your friend is failing you. But often, these
attitudes toward others create a negative loop. Instead of focusing on what others should or shouldn’t doing,
think on what you love about them.
Gratitude Strengthens and Deepens Relationships
You may not realize it but when you’re grateful, it shows up in your relationships. For example, if you’re grateful
for your loved one, you’re likely to demonstrate this without even realizing it. You take the time to listen to when
they call, you offer to help with difficult tasks, or you do an enjoyable activity together.
When you express gratitude in your relationships, the other person feels valued and heard. As a result, they want
to deepen the connection with you, too. Often, this creates a continuous cycle of generosity that contributes to
positive feelings on both sides.
Let your loved ones know you appreciate them. Relationships are precious and we should value them.