Previously, we’ve discussed natural methods to boost your immune system and using probiotics to fight cold and flu. Today, in honor of Thanksgiving, I’d like to talk about the positive effects an “attitude of gratitude” can have on your health.
Numerous studies have shown the healing power of gratitude. Researchers from UC Davis and the Mississippi University for Women found that organ recipients who kept a gratitude journal “scored better on measures of mental health, general health and vitality than those who keep only routine notes about their days.”
Another study by Dr. Robert Emmons placed people in three groups, one that focused on gratitude, one that focused on hassles, and one that simply recorded events. “People who were in the gratitude condition felt fully 25% happier – they were more optimistic about the future, they felt better about their lives and they even did almost 1.5 hours more exercise a week than those in the hassles or events condition.”
Grateful people have also been found to sleep better and be more optimistic, both of which boost the immune system. Dr. Lisa Aspinwall at the University of Utah found that optimistic students maintained higher levels of blood cells that protect the immune system compared to their pessimistic classmates.
Today’s society often leads us to focus on what we don’t have rather than what we do have. We’re told that if only we buy the newest clothing, the latest electronic gadget, the bigger house – then we’ll be happy. Taking a break from all the materialism is easier on our wallet (much needed by many of us in these uncertain economic times), easier on the environment and better for our health. This holiday season, be thankful for what you do have, and pass the benefits along by thanking someone who has made a difference in your life.
I’ll be hosting Thirty Days of Thankfulness at Common Sense Homesteading throughout the month of November 2011. I hope you’ll stop by and be inspired to give thanks for the blessings in your life.
12 Ways to be Thankful – Tips for incorporating more gratitude in your life.
Gratitude Is Good Medicine For Organ Recipients – Science Daily article discussing benefits of gratitude for organ transplant patients
Practicing Gratitude Can increase Happiness by 25% – studies show “thankfulness” increases well-being
Gratitude Improves Your Health: How to Be Healthy with Gratitude