by Jennifer Trent, Wesley Glen WELLness Receptionist
Happy Thanksgiving! What a wonderful thing! A whole day dedicated to giving thanks for what we have individually, and as a family or group!
If you are looking for a reason to be thankful, research has shown that being thankful is actually good for your health. Can an “Attitude of Gratitude” really change your health?
Studies and clinical trials like those done by Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at UC Davis, have shown that the practice of gratitude or giving thanks can have dramatic and lasting effects, like lowered blood pressure, improved immune function, better sleep, better heart health, and it may actually reduce the effects of aging on the brain.
Research has also shown that when we think about what we are thankful for, the parasympathetic part of the nervous system is activated, which can have protective benefits for the body, like lowering stress hormones such as cortisol. We may not all be grateful by nature, but it is a habit that we can develop if we look for just one thing at a time to be grateful for daily. Then, we can add more as we get accustomed to the practice.
Over time you will find that the practice of being grateful can totally change the way you view your life and the things around you. Keeping a gratitude journal is one way of boosting our gratitude. Robert Emmons’ research showed that those who maintained a weekly gratitude journal reported fewer physical symptoms, had a better outlook on their lives in general, and had more optimism about what the future had in store.
So, try a regular dose of thanksgiving all year round for your health!