FRIDAY, JULY 27, 2018
KIM SLADE

 

July 24 is a day when you should pause and think about what you are doing to stay healthy, prevent illness, or cope with a condition. This year the focus is on feeling good 7/24 – seven days a week, 24 hours a day, so this week we will review some evidenced based things that you can do to feel good every day – Today’s Topic – The Benefits of Being Grateful.

Gratitude is good for your health

Research tells us that being grateful is good for our health and well-being. Gratitude, which has many definitions in literature, is really about appreciating and valuing what is personally meaningful and recognizing it with thankfulness or appreciation.

A quick review of the scientific literature highlights that there are more benefits to being grateful than there are harmful outcomes. In fact, the research tells us that there is a relationship between practicing gratitude and feeling of well-being which includes feeling more optimistic and better about your life, increased participation in exercise and reduced visits to your doctor and a reduction in “aches and pains”, and a reduction in toxic emotions like regret and resentment. Practicing gratitude, positively impacts your mental health. A study that looked at integrating gratitude practices even in the worst of times, has been found to foster resilience.

Additionally, gratitude is good for your relationships with others. In one study, partners who expressed gratitude to one another felt more positive towards each other and also felt more comfortable expressing concerns about their relationship. Another study found that those who are more likely to be grateful also have greater empathy and a reduced desire to seek revenge.

3 simple ways to practice gratitude

Integrating gratitude practices into your daily life is not difficult to do. Take a look at the list below to see three scientifically validated ways that you can practice gratitude to help you #feelgood7/24:

  1. Keep a Journal.
    Write down five things for which you are grateful for each week for ten, A study by the University of California found that participants who did this felt better about their lives, exercised 1.5 hours more per week, had fewer health complaints and were 25% happier than those who kept track of “irritations” they had experienced. Daily practice of a gratitude journal is said to increase your productivity, help you sleep, strengthen relationships, and enhance overall satisfaction.
  2. Practice Gratitude Meditation.
    A study that looked at the effects of practicing gratitude meditation on neural network functional connectivity and brain-heart coupling found that those who did grateful meditations had lower heart rates and improved emotional well-being.
  3. Write a Thank You Note.
    A 2014 study found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship. A different study found that writing and personally delivering a letter of gratitude to someone resulted in increased happiness for the sender with the benefit of this gesture lasting for one month. A third study which looked at the impact of expressing gratitude to employees found that those who received messages of gratitude had a 50% increase in their productivity.

References

About the Author

Kim Slade is the Director of Emerging Markets and Commercialization at Public Services Health & Safety Association. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Communications and also has an Adult Education Certificate from OISE University of Toronto. Kim is also part of the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Technical Committees on Occupational Health and Safety Training as well as the Paramedic Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace Standard. She has been in the field of OHS training and education for the past 15 years.