iMotion_Improving Your Health and Fitness

The Newsletter About Your Health And Caring For Your Body

GRATITUDE AND HEALTH Feeling thankful can improve your health in both direct and indirect ways. Some research shows that the experience of gratitude can induce a sense of relaxation, improve the immune system, and decrease blood pressure. But grateful people also tend to cultivate better health habits, like eating more nutritious food, exercising, and avoiding risky behaviors. In addition, the optimism that stems from gratitude can create a healing attitude: research shows that people with optimistic attitudes have better outcomes after medical procedures. GRATITUDE AND RESILIENCE Practicing gratitude can also make you better equipped to handle the difficulties of life that inevitably arise. In fact, according to Emmons, it’s an essential part of the process of healing from trauma. Even despair can be mitigated by the experience of appreciation for the good, however slight it might be. Many survivors of the Holocaust, when asked to tell their stories, remember most strongly the feelings of gratitude for food, shelter, or clothing that was offered to them. This sense of thankfulness for the small blessings helped them maintain their humanity despite experiencing a horrific tragedy. Many people with life-threatening illnesses also report decreased distress and increased positive emotions when they practice gratitude. Recent MRI studies have mapped the gratitude circuitry in the brain, which activates a sense of reward, fairness, and decision-making—all aspects that help facilitate survival and post-traumatic growth. Being Grateful is Good For You!

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