Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude
Monday, November 9, 2015

Summary

Gratitude has been scientifically shown to actually improve your health, providing benefit to well-being and quality of life.
Showing gratitude is good for your health

Aside from being the time of year when we look forward to family dinners and pumpkin spiced everything, November is a month when most of us spend at least a few moments contemplating what we are thankful for before we fill up at the Thanksgiving table. This month consider taking on the challenge of extending this day of giving thanks into a full year of practicing gratitude and appreciation.

But don’t just do it to be nice, do it for your health: gratitude has been scientifically shown to actually improve your health, providing benefit to well-being and quality of life.

Gratitude lends itself to optimism which has health benefits. Optimism can actually decrease your risk for cardiac events and mortality, and improve survival rates in some disease states. Gratitude has been linked with improved sleep and immunity.

You may find that if you step back to offer gratitude for nature, for music, for those around you, for your ability to experience love and grief, you can increase your happiness and improve your health.

What can we do in our daily lives to cultivate gratitude?

  • Engage in a daily gratitude meditation. Take 5 minutes daily to consider the word gratitude, what it means to you, and where you come across things to be grateful for in your daily life.
  • Keep a daily gratitude journal. Write down one or more things you are grateful for in a daily journal.
  • Get involved. Lend a helping hand to a neighbor or someone in your community who would benefit from your help. Engage someone conversation or even commiseration.
  • Reframe challenges. Learn to shift your perception; work to see the silver lining in limitations and challenges.
  • Give Appreciation. Say thank you and mean it, practicing genuine appreciation for a found opportunity, a kind act, or even a routine happening which would usually be taken for granted.

Challenge yourself to bring gratitude to every experience you have as you head into autumn and the Holidays. 

— By Meghan Kemnec, ND (’14), resident at Bastyr Center for Natural Health

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