Exercise, a healthy diet, good sleeping patterns – we know that all of these are good for us and help us live healthier lives. But there is another, simple way, to put some sunshine back in your life, and it won’t cost a penny.
Be grateful, and show it. It doesn’t take much effort – say something nice to those closest to you, say thank you whenever you get the chance and smile at people you meet during your day.
It may sound ridiculously simple, but studies are increasingly finding that being grateful improves our health, both mentally and physically, and can build stronger bonds with our families and friends.
In one set of studies, carried out by Robert Emmons of the University of California, and Michael McCullough of the University of Miami, those taking part were divided into three groups.
One set were asked to focus on hassles, another on gratitude and a third on neutral events in their lives. All then kept either a weekly or daily diary of their moods, health behaviour, coping behaviour, physical symptoms, and general comments on life.
Another, similar, study carried out by the same experts, involved people with neuromuscular disease, who were placed in either gratitude groups, or control groups with no changes involved.
The gratitude groups in all three studies showed increased well-being, compared to those in the comparison groups.
The results suggested that deliberately being aware of the good things in life may improve how we feel in terms of our own emotions and how we react with other people.
There are other benefits linked to being grateful. Study results indicate that feelings of gratitude mean that we feel better, with fewer symptoms of physical illness, sleep better and for longer, are more optimistic and exercise more.
Other potential benefits of being grateful include:
a) Having stronger friendships and social bonds
b) Being more likely to offer other people support
c) Having greater resources to cope with stress and difficult times
d) Being more likely to feel loved and cared for by family and friends
With thanks to SAGA magazine for the above article. See the full article here.