Gratitude is good medicine
November is National Gratitude Month, but thankfulness can benefit your health all year long. Gratitude is more than simply saying “thank you.” Finding someone or something to be thankful for every day makes a lasting change in the way we see the world while also improving our health.
Physical and mental health benefits
Counting our blessings or jotting down a gratitude list before bed promotes better sleep, lowers stress levels and blood pressure. It gives you a sense of purpose and naturally fights depression. Gratitude, when practiced regularly, reduces inflammation that leads to heart, joint and other types of chronic disease. Overall, being thankful is a win-win that boosts your physical and mental well-being.
Developing an attitude of gratitude can even lead to giving as a way to show your appreciation. Generosity shifts us to appreciating the positive in our lives. It fosters a social connection and sense of community. For example, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department recently shared this story of two people whose mutual appreciation for Texas nature led them to give back to the Texas state parks they love, through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation.
Here are a few ways you can incorporate thankfulness into your life during National Gratitude Month.
- Start a gratitude journal and make writing in it a daily habit. Focus on specific events, people, pets or moments you are grateful for each day and why.
- Share your gratitude with others. Sometimes just reaching out and letting someone know you’re grateful for their care, services or friendship is the greatest gift you could possibly give.
- Show your appreciation by giving back to your community, neighborhood, or favorite organization. Volunteer your time and funds, if possible, to help spread your gratitude to others.
Practicing gratitude is the simplest way you can brighten someone’s day or support a cause you believe in—and boost your mental and physical well-being at the same time. Whether it’s leaving a thank you note for a kind coworker or giving a substantial donation to the charity of your choice, developing an attitude of gratitude can make a lasting impact to others and to your health.
This holiday season, pull out your gratitude lists—mentally or physically—and remember all you have to be grateful for.