Learning Strategies Blog

For Health’s Sake, Be Grateful

by Pete Bissonette

What makes you beam with gratitude?

A grandchild, a puppy, success in your career, or a shiny new pair of sneakers? No matter what tops your list, consider sharing an extra smile, making a quick “thank you” call, or offering a warm hug.

Expressing your gratitude has numerous health benefits, claim Stephen M. Yoshimura, Ph.D., and Kassandra Berzins of the University of Montana in an article published in the National Communication Association’s Review of Communication.

“Gratitude consistently associates with many positive social, psychological, and health states, such as an increased likelihood of helping others, optimism, exercise, and reduced reports of physical symptoms,” the authors stated, referencing recent research.

25% Greater Happiness

In one study from psychologists Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, participants were asked to journal weekly about daily experiences. One group wrote about what they were grateful for; one group wrote about what had displeased them; and one group wrote about events that affected them, with no emphasis on whether the events were positive or negative.

After ten weeks of journaling, participants who expressed gratitude reported happiness levels 25 percent higher than participants of the other two groups. In addition, they exercised 1.5 hours more per week, had fewer doctor visits, and had greater overall satisfaction.

A separate study from Emmons and McCullough found that participants who both self-reported and were observed by others as maintaining a grateful disposition had reduced levels of depression, anxiety, and envy.

Scientific research into gratitude keeps pointing to less pain and stress, stronger immune system, lower blood pressure, better sleep, more energy, higher self-esteem, greater resiliency, and increased longevity.

The benefits of gratitude are truly endless. To ensure you experience more of them, keep a gratitude journal.

Take a few minutes to reflect and write about what you are thankful for each day. Since doing so before bed can help you sleep better, keep your journal by your bed. Writing a simple list of five or ten things is enough, however, reflect and write as much as you feel inspired to. Consider writing until you are moved to tears by all you are grateful for.

To augment the positive energy of gratitude in you, I recommend you listen to the Gratitude Paraliminal. It guides you through a heart-centered practice focused on feelings of love, forgiveness, and kindness, providing a lingering effect on your health and well-being. 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.

To learn more about Gratitude and all our other Paraliminal programs, please click here.