What Are You Grateful for? Gratitude Training Can Boost Your Health

Practicing gratitude training via gratitude exercises—a daily journal is the easiest to adopt—boosts your health and well-being. So... why are you thankful?

gratitude training

Researchers at the universities of Utah and Kentucky observed that stressed-out law students who characterized themselves as optimistic actually had more disease-fighting cells in their bodies.

© Monkey Business Images | Dreamstime.com

As we celebrate Thanksgiving and edge ever closer to a new year, your health will thank you if you make gratitude exercises a part of your regular, daily routine. Gratitude training, which involves such techniques as keeping a daily gratitude journal, among other strategies, might be vitally important to boosting your health and well-being, just like regular exercise is.

Health Benefits of Gratitude Training

Research shows that gratitude is correlated with positive emotional functioning, social relationships, and overall well-being.[1] Being thankful can also protect against mental health problems[2] and is associated with a lower risk of depression, generalized anxiety disorder, phobias, and drug abuse.[1]

Gratitude likely also benefits diseases like heart conditions and cancer, helping recovery, risk of relapse, and quality of life for those dealing with such conditions.[1,3,4] One study found that patients with neuromuscular conditions who kept a gratitude journal had better positive affect (mood) and life satisfaction in both self-reports and reports by significant others.[5]

Get Your Stress & Anxiety Guide

Learn how to identify anxiety symptoms, manage stress, and bring calm back to your life.

Claim your FREE copy, right now, of our definitive guide on stress and anxiety.

Gratitude Training in Research

Researcher Robert Emmons has conducted extensive studies on gratitude and health. In one study, he and his team found that college students who recorded things they were grateful for on a weekly basis reported fewer physical symptoms, exercised more regularly, and felt better about their lives than did those students who recorded hassles or neutral events. Daily gratitude journals were associated with higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, attentiveness, and energy.[5]

Other research found that young people can benefit too—even 6th– and 7th-graders who kept track of things for which they were grateful showed a positive change in mental health and well-being.[6]

BENEFITS OF GRATITUDE

In November 2017, Time Magazine published an article that presented seven “surprising benefits of practicing gratitude.” Check them out:

  1. Gratitude can make you more patient.
  2. Gratitude might improve your relationship.
  3. Gratitude improves self-care.
  4. Gratitude can help you sleep.
  5. Gratitude may stop you from overeating.
  6. Gratitude can help ease depression.
  7. Gratitude gives you happiness that lasts.

To see the full story and the back-up behind each of the above benefits, click here.

How to Practice Gratitude Training

Gratitude training involves strategies that help to develop a sense of appreciation in your life. Keeping a daily gratitude journal, as mentioned earlier, is one of the easiest gratitude exercises to practice. At the end of each day, record at least one thing for which you are thankful that day. You might write down an act or words that inspired you, an event that made you feel good, or an interaction with someone that brought you joy.

A journal is not necessary for a gratitude practice—just be sure to take time out of each day to think about what you are thankful for. Write a thank-you note to someone, call up a friend or two and tell them why you appreciate them, or just take a walk around the neighborhood and brainstorm how many things around you for which you’re thankful.

Questions to ask yourself regularly include:

  • What am I truly grateful for in my life?
  • What do I take for granted?
  • Who in my circle of family and friends do I take for granted?
  • What unique advantages have I been given in life?
  • What relationships and people am I thankful for?
  • What have I learned from experiences I initially perceive to be negative?
  • Why am I lucky to live in the place that I live?
  • How can I shift my perspective to see things more positively?

Give it a try: Setting aside time in the day to practice gratitude intentionally can make a huge difference.

Share Your Experience

Have you ever followed a gratitude practice? What were your results? What suggestions do you have for gratitude training exercises? Share your experience with cultivating gratitude in the comments section below.

For related reading, visit these posts:


[1] Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2014 Apr 30;12:63.

[2] J Abnorm Psychol. 2014 Feb;123(1):3-12.

[3] Scand J Prim Health Care. 1988 May;6(2):67-71.

[4] Psychosom Med. 2005 May-Jun;67 Suppl 1:S47-53.

[5] J Pers Soc Psychol. 2003 Feb;84(2):377-89.

[6] J Sch Psychol. 2008 Apr;46(2):213-33.

Originally published in 2014, this post is regularly updated.

Anchor
Comments

Leave a Reply

×
Enter Your Log In Credentials
This setting should only be used on your home or work computer.

×
×

Please Log In

You are trying to access subscribers-only content. If you are a subscriber, use the form below to log in.

Subscribers will have unlimited access to the magazine that helps people live more sustainable, self-reliant lives, with feature stories on tending the garden, managing the homestead, raising healthy livestock and more!

This setting should only be used on your home or work computer.

×

Please Log In

You are trying to access subscribers-only content. If you are a subscriber, use the form below to log in.

Subscribers will have unlimited access to the magazine that helps the small-scale poultry enthusiast raise healthy, happy, productive flocks for eggs, meat or fun - from the countryside to the urban homestead!

This setting should only be used on your home or work computer.

Send this to a friend

Hi,
I thought you might be interested in this article on https://universityhealthnews.com: What Are You Grateful for? Gratitude Training Can Boost Your Health

-- Read the story at https://universityhealthnews.com/daily/stress-anxiety/what-are-you-grateful-for-how-gratitude-training-can-boost-your-health/