Being thankful and showing appreciation for what we have is a powerful force for good in our lives. It can improve our relationships, enhance our empathy, and boost our self-esteem. But did you also know that showing gratitude can also have a positive impact on your health?
In one study from the University of California San Diego’s School of Medicine, researchers found that individuals who expressed more gratitude had better heart health, specifically less inflammation and healthier heart rhythms. Not only that but showing gratitude can lower blood pressure, improve immune function and facilitate more efficient sleep.
What’s the best way to get all of these health benefits? Well, one of my favorite methods for showing gratitude is to create a “gratitude ritual.” This just means making the habit of gratitude a regular part of your life. Connect your expressions of gratitude to some other habit that you do every day. Perhaps you list three things you’re grateful for while you brush your teeth before bed. Or, have the whole family express gratitude at the dinner table each evening. What I like to do is think of all the things I am grateful for during Savasana (the part at the end of a yoga practice when you lie down on your back and relax your body and mind) in my daily yoga practice. This way I combine two healthy activities into one!
By showing gratitude we can not only improve our emotional health but our physical health as well. So, how will you start to show gratitude in your life?
 Mills, P. J., Redwine, L., Wilson, K., Pung, M. A., Chinh, K., Greenberg, B. H., . . . Chopra, D. (2015). The role of gratitude in spiritual well-being in asymptomatic heart failure patients. Spirituality in Clinical Practice, 2(1), 5-17. doi:10.1037/scp0000050