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  • Mary Carolla

Gratitude is Good for You

November, with the arrival of the Thanksgiving holiday, puts many of us in the mindset of gratitude. Of course, gratitude shouldn’t be limited to just one month a year. A daily practice of gratitude can be good for your body and mind.

What is gratitude?

Simply put, it is a state of thankfulness or being grateful. According to the tenets of positive psychology, “gratitude is the human way of acknowledging the good things of life.”

Gratitude and Happiness

Gratitude in all forms is associated with happiness. When we say “thank you” to someone, or they say it to us, the feeling it brings is satisfaction and encouragement. Expressions of gratitude help in build and sustain relationships, deal with adversity and bounce back from difficulties with strength and motivation.

Thanking others, thanking ourselves, thanking nature, or offering thanks as part of one’s faith – gratitude in any form can enlighten the mind and make us feel happier. Simple practices like keeping a gratitude journal, complimenting one’s self, or sending thank you notes can enhance a person’s mood immediately. Partners who express gratitude to each other build trust loyalty, and long-lasting relationships. One group of researchers found that keeping a gratitude journal was associated with lower stress, improved quality of sleep, and improved emotional awareness (Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005).

Gratitude - A Health Superpower

It can have a significant impact on body functions and psychological conditions. Research has indicated that gratitude can help:

  • Regulate emotions - Studies have shown that hippocampus and amygdala (the two main sites of the brain that regulate emotions, memory, and bodily functioning) get activated with feelings of gratitude.

  • Reduce pain - By regulating the level of dopamine, gratitude fills us with more vitality, thus reducing subjective feelings of pain.

  • Improve sleep quality - simple acts of kindness activate the brain’s hypothalamus (one of the hypothalamus’ functions is sleep regulation). A brain filled with gratitude and kindness is more likely to sleep better and awaken feeling refreshed and energetic.

  • Regulate stress - By reducing the stress hormones and managing the autonomic nervous system functions, gratitude could reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Wow, that’s some pretty powerful stuff!

Thank You

On this note, I want to offer my gratitude to you. My clients are truly a treasure. I thank you for the trust you have in me to help you on your wellness journey, for supporting my business and helping it grow, and for the many kindnesses you offer along the way. I appreciate each and every one of you.

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