Friday, November 20, 2015

Thanksgiving Keeps You Healthy

During Thanksgiving week, people around the United States express gratitude for the bounty of their lives, but many may not realize that in doing so, they're also improving the quality of their health and increasing their life expectancies.

Gratefulness is linked with optimism, which in turn is linked with better immune health. For example, a University of Utah study showed that stressed-out law students who were optimistic had more immune-boosting blood cells than people who were pessimistic. We can all use a boost to our immune systems this winter!
 
Another study showed that appreciation and positive emotions are linked with changes in heart rate variability. This may be beneficial in the treatment of hypertension and in reducing the likelihood of sudden death in patients with congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease.

Writing down what you're thankful for as you drift off to sleep can help you get better sleep. Specifically, researchers found that when people spent 15 minutes jotting down what they're grateful for in a journal before bedtime, they fell asleep faster and stayed asleep longer.

Finally, in one study, one group of participants were asked to name five things they’re grateful for every day, while another group was asked to list five hassles. Those expressing gratitude were not only happier and more optimistic, they reported fewer physical symptoms (such as headache, cough, nausea, or acne). Other gratitude studies have shown that those with chronic illnesses demonstrate clinical improvement when practicing regular gratitude.

Here are some simple things you can do to build positive momentum toward a more happy and fulfilling life:

1) Keep a daily journal of three things you are thankful for. This works well first thing in the morning, or just before you go to bed.

2) Make it a practice to tell a spouse or friend something you appreciate about them every day.

3) Look in the mirror when you are brushing your teeth, and think about something you have done well recently or something you like about yourself.

Thankfulness feels good, it's good for you and it's a blessing for the people around you, too. It's such a win-win-win that I'd say we have cause for gratitude.

Practice Thankfulness This Week
Stay Active and Enjoy Your Food  

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