How Being Thankful Can Be Good for Health

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November is the beginning of the holiday season, but for many, the season doesn’t bring a sense of joy.  If you feel down or overwhelmed this time of year, try to remember what makes you grateful. Studies show that there are many mental and physical benefits to gratitude. The more positive experiences and good emotions you feel, the easier it will be for you to be happy, stay healthy, build relationships and deal with adversity in your life. Being thankful can benefit you in a number of ways.

Making You More Patient

People who feel grateful for everyday things are often more patient than those who don’t. A study published in the journal, Psychological Science, found that feelings of gratitude are associated with increased patience. Participants were given a choice to take a certain amount of cash immediately versus a greater amount later. Those who were more appreciative and happy were less likely to take the money now and more likely to wait for the greater amount down the road.

Improving Your Self-Esteem

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Studies like the report from the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, have shown that gratitude increases self-esteem and reduces social comparisons. The more grateful you are, the less resentful you’ll be, and the more likely you’ll be able to appreciate the accomplishments of others.

Improving Your Physical Health

A study published in Personality and Individual Differences found that grateful people feel healthier than others and experience fewer aches and pains. The study also found that grateful people exercise more often and are more likely to get regular check-ups by a doctor –important factors when it comes to taking care of your health.

Improving Your Psychological Health

A variety of research shows that gratitude reduces stress, frustration, and regret. In some cases, being thankful can even help to overcome trauma, which can severely impact your emotional state. Some studies even show that being thankful correlates to an overall more healthy mindset.

Improving Your Relationships

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If you have issues in your relationship, feeling grateful toward your significant other can help you feel a closer connection. Gratitude also helps to create new relationships. Showing appreciation can help you gain new friends, according to a study published in Emotion, which shows that people will be more likely to spend more time with you if you express gratitude.

Helping You Sleep

Grateful people simply sleep better. Studies published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being and the Journal of Psychosomatic Research found that the more positive thoughts you have before you go to bed, the better you’ll sleep. Try jotting down a list of things you’re grateful for before you hit the sack each night.

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