Can Gratitude Actually Improve Your Health?

By on April 1, 2013

By Carol Doyel –

Gratitude seems to be a popular topic these days and I’ve noticed a number of articles in the media about the benefits of gratitude. Personally, I would describe myself as a grateful person. Someone with an “attitude of gratitude” and I believe it has made a difference in my life. My closest friends and family members would say I’m an “eternal optimist”. I tend to view trials in life as an opportunity to grow and become stronger. I often find myself thinking about the things I’m grateful for and when I do, well, I have to admit I feel better.

But can being grateful really benefit you physically? The answer is absolutely. Research shows that not only does being grateful make you feel better about life, but it can help you sleep better, reduce anxiety and depression, and even improve your immune system.

For those who may find it difficult to feel gratitude, a New York Times article “A Serving of Gratitude May Save the Day” shares the advice from experts who suggest that you, “Start with ‘gratitude lite.’ That’s the term used by Robert A. Emmons, of the University of California, Davis, for the technique used in his pioneering experiments he conducted along with Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami. They instructed people to keep a journal listing five things for which they felt grateful, like a friend’s generosity, something they’d learned, a sunset they’d enjoyed.”

I suggest that you not only keep a journal of things you’re grateful for, but keep it with you so that you can add to it as you think of things that you are thankful for or to refer to when you find yourself becoming downcast.

Developing an attitude of gratitude may require some practice and “taking thoughts captive”. But we tend to become what we choose to focus on or “feed on” and if left unchecked, a negative outlook or disposition can ruin your day, your week or your life if you allow it to.

The good news is, by making small changes over time you’ll l find that life is better and you’ll attract the very things you chose to think about the most, negative or positive.

Choosing to be grateful empowers you to embrace the best in life and can even improve your health!

Carol Doyel is Editor-in-Chief and Founder of LivingBetter50.com. She is a graduate of The Full Gospel Bible Institute and has a passion for women’s ministries, issues and lives. She and her husband of 25 years have three grown kids and two grandchildren.  They spilt their time between Sisters Oregon and wherever her husband’s work may take them, which currently is southern CA. Her desire is to inspire other women to live better physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually.

Carol Doyel

About Carol Doyel

Carol Doyel is Editor-in-Chief and Founder of LivingBetter50.com. She is a graduate of The Full Gospel Bible Institute and has a passion for women’s ministries, issues and lives. She and her husband of nearly 30 years have three grown kids and four grandchildren. They currently reside in southern California. Her desire is to inspire women to live better physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually.

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Can Gratitude Actually Improve Your Health?