Through these past weeks, we have seen a culture of goodness emerge. Moral decision-making that is based on what is right and just for all of us. From corporations to citizens, mercy and kindness is leading the way forward. From these acts of goodness, we feel grateful and gratitude is a pillar of health. What is not clear is whether those who have good health are grateful or whether being grateful leads to a healthier outlook on life.
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie, Writer
Sleep experts agree that negative emotions lead to insomnia and they often prescribe gratitude journals before bed. Researchers at the University of Manchester evaluated participants level of “gratitude attitude” and found that higher ratings of gratitude correlated with dozing off faster and sleeping better.
The Gratitude Attitude
- Daily thankful thoughts. This is a quick blessing count that you might jot down before bed, or share with a house buddy on a walk or use an app to track.
- Weekly praise for others. Try once a week expressing your gratefulness for another persons actions. Maybe it’s someone you know who is always there for you or maybe it’s that helpful delivery person who went out of their way. Make their day and yours too.
- Monthly memories. The days, weeks and months pass quickly and having a monthly memento of an experience, conversation or new beginning is a great way to remember just what we have and how wonderful it is.
Gratitude is heartwarming and makes us feel good, that nice warm secure kind of good. Turns out that being grateful is actually good for our heart health. Yes, if we sleep better and are happier, our hearts are healthier but there’s more that science is discovering. Those who practice gratefulness have lower blood pressure, stronger immune responses and healthier lifestyle habits. Even more surprising is that gratitude rewires the brain and actually makes is crave more gratefulness.
“The practice of gratitude increases your dopamine production which encourages your brain to seek out more of the same. It’s the brain saying, “Oh, do that again” which means the more you are grateful for, the more you will find to be grateful for.” Carrie D. Clark, Psychologist
- Choose your words carefully, like gifts, and give them to others.
- See the wonder and beauty of nature around you
- Include random acts of kindness in your day and savour the feeling.
- Prepare your meals with love.
- Be aware of negative thoughts and then look for the positive silver lining
- Be thankful when you learn something new even if it wasn’t in your plan.
- Remember what you have accomplished each day not just what’s still on the to-do list.
- Smile more and get more smiles back.