6 Health Benefits of Practicing Gratitude, Backed by Science

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6 health benefits of practicing gratitude

In case you didn't know, November is National Gratitude Month. Many of us are accustomed to sharing what we're grateful for around the Thanksgiving dinner table with our loved ones. And while this gratitude sharing activity can make us all feel warm and fuzzy, science tells us that there are actual health benefits related to practicing gratitude. 

If you're curious about how you can show and practice gratitude this holiday season, check out our article that lists seven different ways you can try. 

The act of practicing gratefulness can have positive impacts on your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. This is namely because expressing gratitude reduces stress, increases optimism, and changes your brain according to Positive Psychology. Keep reading to learn about the 6 health benefits of practicing gratitude backed by science. 

1. Feel more rested with better sleep

Journalling before you go to bed can help improve your sleep according to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. Try setting aside 10 minutes before you go to bed, dim the lights, and journal about what you're grateful for as you wind down from your day. Better sleep = better health. 

2. Bolster your immunity

With lots of traveling and cooler temperatures this time of year, boosting your immunity is more important than ever. Gratitude has been proven to decrease levels of stress which triggers "the immune response to potential bodily threats, whereas increased mental well-being can help your body fight off illness," according to a 2004 research by The Royal Society.

3. Improve your psychological health

Feeling resentful, jealous, or just downright moody? Those emotions can detrimental to your mental health. A regular gratitude practice can reduce those toxic emotions. In fact, Robert Emmons, a top gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the connection between gratitude and well-being, and his research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression. 

4. Increase your physical health

This may come as a surprise but grateful people experience fewer physical aches and pains and report feeling healthier than other people, according to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences. This can be linked to the fact that people who express gratitude often take care of their physical health as well. Getting enough exercise, seeing your doctor regularly, eating a healthy diet, and taking care of your digestive health can all contribute to your long-term health.

5. Have more empathy for those around you

Empathy is your capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing because you can put yourself in their position. People who are grateful are more likely to be empathetic, and see where others are coming from. According to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky, participants with higher levels of gratitude were less likely to retaliate against others, even when they were given negative feedback. The more grateful people experienced more sensitivity and empathy toward other people.

6. Boost your confidence

We're all about improving our confidence. The good news is that expressing your gratitude is a great way to become more confident! Research from a 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology shows that gratitude increased athletes’ self-esteem, which is key to optimal athletic performance. Additionally, studies show that gratitude can lower how much we compare ourselves to other people, helping us find more confidence from within. 

As you can see, the simple act of practicing gratitude can have major, positive implications on your well-being. And we know that a healthier you can start by getting your gut health on track. Taking care of your gut is one of the best ways to take care of your overall health. Start by getting your Confidence - all natural digestive enzymes that improve your digestive health. 

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