Understanding How Thankfulness Impacts Health
Can being thankful and maintaining a positive attitude really help you live a healthier life? The answer is “yes.” How does thankfulness impact your health? Let’s take a look at the details now!
Being Grateful Can Have Big Impacts On Your Mental Health
Two leading researchers into the positive effects of thankfulness and gratefulness, Dr. Robert A. Emmons and Dr. Michael E. McCullough, have done a lot of research on its benefits for mental health.
In one of their most well-known studies, a group of participants was asked to write a few sentences each week. They were split into three groups.
- One group was told to write about things that they were grateful for
- One group was told to write about things that displeased them
- One group was told to write about things that affected them (no emphasis on positive or negative)
After 10 weeks, it was found that the “grateful” group were more optimistic and felt better about their lives – and they even had fewer visits to a physician, and reported exercising more!
Giving Thanks Could Even Help With Your Physical Health, Too!
Could being thankful and maintaining a positive, grateful attitude also help your physical health? Research suggests that it can! A study from Berkeley’s “THNX4” program found that participants who kept an online “gratitude journal” reported a number of beneficial health effects, including:
- Less stomach pain
- Fewer headaches
- Clearer skin
- Reduced congestion
In another study it was found that people who were more grateful also had an easier time falling asleep, sleeping longer, and had better overall sleep quality.
More research is needed, but these studies – and a number of others – do suggest that being thankful and maintaining a positive attitude can positively affect your physical health!
Be Thankful This Year – Your Body And Mind Will Thank You!
Thanksgiving is a great time to be thankful for what you have. Not only is it great to give thanks and be grateful, but it can have a positive effect on your body and your mind. So don’t stop after the holiday ends. Be grateful for what you have and give thanks – and you may be able to lead a healthier overall life!
Thanks for reading, and from everyone at Women’s Medical Associates of Nashville, have a happy Thanksgiving.