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Thanksgiving is as much about gratitude is at is about turkey and cranberry sauce. And it turns out feeling thankful has some pretty potent effects on your health. While more research is needed to strengthen the understanding of the link between gratitude and health, here’s a roundup of some compelling reasons why you will want to be extra thankful this season. 186 men and women with heart damage, researchers rated the people’s levels of gratitude and spiritual well-being.
They found that higher gratitude scores were linked to having a better mood, higher quality sleep and less inflammation—which can worsen the symptoms of heart failure. They also found that having high levels of gratitude explained a lot of the benefits of spiritual well-being. In addition, some of the men and women were also asked to write down things they were grateful for over an eight-week period. We found that those patients who kept gratitude journals for those eight weeks showed reductions in circulating levels of several important inflammatory biomarkers, as well as an increase in heart rate variability while they wrote. Mills, a professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California, San Diego in a statement about his research. If you’re having difficulty sleeping, writing down a few things you are thankful for before bed can help.
Being gracious can contribute to a healthier outlook. After a few weeks, the researchers found that the people who wrote about things they were grateful for were more optimistic and reported feeling better about themselves. They even exercised more than the group that wrote about things that irritated them. Expressing gratitude is a great way to build new relationships.
70 college students think they were mentoring a high schooler. They were asked to send comments on a college admissions essay. The students then received a note from their mentee that either expressed gratitude or did not. The students who were thanked by the high schooler were more likely to rate them as having a warmer personality and more likely to provide the younger student with their personal information, like an email address. The people who felt more gracious had a notable willingness to partake in healthy behaviors and seek help for their health-related concerns. TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.
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