Geriatrician, Hospitalist, Patient Advocate, Healthcare Educator

Benefits of Practicing Gratitude

Photo by Gabrielle Henderson

Expressing gratitude for the things we have in our lives be it material things, relationships, careers, family and more, can have a positive impact in our lives in general. It allows us to appreciate and value what we have instead of focusing on what we do not have.

Research has shown that practicing gratitude has physical as well as emotional and mental benefits:

  • decreases stress and depression
  • lowers levels of stress hormone(cortisol)
  • Lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure
  • associated with healthier eating and decreased dietary fat intake
  • helps you sleep better
  • helps make stronger social connections
  • decreases inflammation markers
  • motivates you to exercise
  • strengthens immune system
  • improves pain tolerance
  • helps keep glucose under control
  • improves overall well-being
  • boosts self-confidence
  • makes you more optimistic

How to practice gratitude

  • keep a gratitude journal-gratitude journaling has become popular and is an outlet to physically write down all the things we have to be thankful for. But remember, you don’t necessarily have to write….you can sketch, paint, photograph, whatever works for you
  • write thank you notes or mentally thank someone
  • pray
  • meditate
  • count your blessings
  • perform acts of kindness-volunteer, pick up liter, pay kindness forward