by Fluvia Humphreys M.D.
Many of us are grateful because we are healthy. What if we turn that statement around? Have you ever thought that maybe you are healthy because you are grateful? Yes, there are actual medical benefits of being grateful! Check out the following:
Here are 5 Medical Benefits of Thankfulness
1. Blood pressure: the practice of gratitude can have dramatic and lasting effects in a person’s life. Research shows that when we think about what we appreciate, the parasympathetic or calming part of the nervous system is triggered which can have protective benefits on the body such as lowering blood pressure.
2. Chronic inflammation: Studies demonstrate that people who are grateful actually have better heart health, specifically less inflammation and healthier heart rhythms.
3. Stress: Gratitude decreases cortisol levels and could increase oxytocin, the bonding hormone involved in relationships that makes us feel so good.
4. Depression: There are several studies that suggest shifting our thinking from negative outcomes to positive outcomes elicits a surge of “feel good” hormones like dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin. These hormones may reduce the symptoms of depression.
5. Immune System: According to research, when practiced daily, gratitude, may strengthen your immune system. Approaching life with greater optimism is good for your overall well-being, including the immune system.
“Some people may not be grateful by nature but it is a habit you can get accustomed to,” states Norman Rosenthal, M.D., Psychiatrist. As Thanksgiving approaches this year, find reasons to practice gratitude daily and enjoy the health benefits of more positive frame of mind!