Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude for Better Health

A growing body of research proves what sages and enlightened folks like poet William Blake have advised through the ages: "The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest."

Taking time to write about the things you appreciate in your life can help you harvest better health and happiness, higher self-esteem, greater resiliency, deeper relationships, and increased longevity. For instance:

  • Organ recipients who kept gratitude journals scored better on measures of mental health and general well-being than those who only kept routine notes about their days (University of California, Davis and Mississippi University for Women).
  • Patients with asymptomatic heart failure who journaled experienced better mood, better sleep, less fatigue, and less inflammation (University of California, San Diego).
    "It seems that a more grateful heart is indeed a more healthy heart, and that gratitude journaling is an easy way to support cardiac health," said lead author Paul J. Mills, Ph.D.
  • Couples who recorded their feelings of appreciation for their partner's actions boosted happiness, romance, and satisfaction in their relationships (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of California, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles).
    "The little things may make a big difference within the daily lives of individuals in romantic relationships. Gratitude may help to turn 'ordinary' moments into opportunities for relationship growth, even in the context of already close, communal relations," noted the authors.

Gratitude is both an inward and outward expression of positive feeling and emotion. When expressed inward, gratitude generates growing feelings of expansion that increase your inclination and ability to extend loving-kindness to others.

Focusing on a positive emotion creates more of the emotion.

  • Whether you choose to think of something good in your life that happened an hour ago, yesterday, last year, or during childhood does not matter; your attention creates more of the emotion now, in the present moment. It is a now experience, and you reap the beneficial effects of the expanded energy.

You always get more of what you reinforce.

  • Any time you purposefully spend on gratitude will augment that energy within you, stimulating "feel good" hormones and neurochemicals in your body that benefit you on every level—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Don't we all want any edge we can get these days.

If you have no daily gratitude practice already, start one today. Consider these tips from the Gratitude Paraliminal for using a journal:

  • Devote at least a few minutes each day to reflect and write about what you are thankful for.
  • Write in your journal any time of day. If you have sleep issues, do it right before you go to bed, because studies show it can actually help you sleep better. Keep your journal on your nightstand as a gentle reminder.
  • Simply list five or ten things you are grateful for. However, reflect and write about as much as you feel inspired to. Then notice what shows up for you!

To more fully immerse yourself in the experience of gratitude, listen to the Gratitude Paraliminal in the MINDTRX app.

Simply push play, close your eyes, relax, and listen. This closed-eye process activates your "whole mind" with a precise blend of music and words to help you get the most out of every minute.

Mental & Emotional Health, Physical Health, Relationships, Sleep & Relaxation

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