Thanksgiving is as much about gratitude is at is about turkey and pumpkin pie. And it turns out, feeling thankful has some pretty positive effects on your health.
While more research is needed to strengthen the understanding of the link between gratitude and health, here’s a roundup of some compelling reasons why you may want to be extra thankful this season and beyond. We also have included quotes from some our wonderful clients regarding their interpretation of thankfulness; Sojourn could not be more grateful for them!
“Living with gratitude is good for your health, chases away loneliness and keeps your heart open.” ~Terri P.
You’ll have a healthier heart: Research has found that people with higher gratitude were linked to having a better mood, higher quality sleep and less inflammation in their hearts which can worsen the symptoms of heart failure. They also found that having high levels of gratitude explained a lot of the benefits of spiritual well-being.
“Being thankful is as simple as saying Thank You” ~Linda S.
You might get more sleep: If you’re having difficulty sleeping, writing down a few things you are thankful for before bed can help. A 2011 study of college students who struggled to fall asleep due to racing minds and worries found that those who underwent a gratitude intervention (they were asked to spend 15 minutes in the early evening writing about a positive event that occurred recently or one they anticipated in the future) could “quiet their minds and sleep better.”
Mark “Spanky” H. ~ “It’s important to be thankful for what you have and don’t question it. Don’t take anything for granted.”
It makes you more optimistic: Being gracious can contribute to a healthier outlook. Try keeping a gratitude journal. Write about what you are thankful for throughout the week. You will see that after a few weeks of writing, you will feel more optimistic and better about yourself. Like the old saying, “count your blessings”; the idea is to focus as much as possible on all the things that are going right in your life. When you do that, you will find you are a happier person.
Patty C. ~ “I choose to live in a state of Thankfulness every day. I appreciate every moment and enjoy my family.”
Gratitude helps you make new friends: Expressing gratitude is a great way to build new relationships. Think back to when you have received a compliment from someone you do not even know. The positive feeling you get often draws you toward them. Some of the lifelong friendships we have made through the years have begun this way.
Vicky F. ~I’m thankful for my new friends and peace at Sojourn.”
“I have so much gratitude in my heart for my special friends here.” ~Judy P.
Being thankful improves physical health: People who feel more gracious have a notable willingness to partake in healthy behaviors and seek help for their health-related concerns. Being thankful can help to relieve stress, depression and addictions, among other conditions. Other research has also suggested that people who are grateful are more likely to do physical activity. Feeling positive about yourself gives you a mental boost of energy which in turn makes you want to move. Going out for a walk, meeting friends, and volunteering are all ways gratitude influences a healthy physical lifestyle.
Mary Ellen F. ~ “Even though I have some pain in spots I’m thankful I don’t have pain all over. And that’s how it is. It could always be worse. Be thankful!”
Thanksgiving is a time to gather around loved ones and to be grateful for all that we have been so abundantly blessed with. Sojourn would like to thank our clients, their families, our staff and volunteers. It is all of you who make our community shine.