Saying "Thank You" Improves Your Health. How To Start Your Gratitude Practice
Here at mbg, we're big practitioners of gratitude. It's the key to enjoying the gifts in life and surviving the challenges that come your way. Dr. Lawrence Rosen rounded up some of the many benefits of gratitude: In eight different studies, gratitude was shown to reduce feelings of depression. It worked best when people chose to think optimistically and reframe events and situations in a positive way. It lessens anxiety and can be helpful for those suffering from severe conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It improves sleep, which in turn has a positive impact on mood. And anxiety. And just about everything. It improves overall cardiac health, both indirectly through improving mood and attention to positive health behaviors like fitness and nutrition as well as directly through reduction in inflammation. It strengthens memory. For elderly adults, practicing gratitude was shown to improve their overall sense of well-being and quality of life. Introducing more gratitude into your life is a powerful way to pursue your goals in the new year without focusing negatively on what you lack.
Start your own gratitude practice
- Sit and acknowledge how you feel in the moment. Don't pressure yourself to label your thoughts as anything other than they are.
- Focus on the aspects of your life that bring you happiness. Hold them in your mind and say thank you for each item.
- Focus on the struggles in your life. Say thank you for the unexpected gains they've led you to. Perhaps they've shown you your own strength or they've brought you closer to loved ones. Now say thank you for the hardships, themselves, not the silver linings. They may offer you gifts you've yet to uncover.
- Sit in silence for five minutes, meditating on the words "Thank you."
- If you feel yourself holding tension, thinking negatively, or overwhelmed by sadness during your day, return to the mantra "Thank you." Repeat the words to yourself slowly as you breathe deeply.
More from mbg on gratitude
- How To Create A Yoga Practice That's All About Gratitude
- 10 Gratitude Principles To Live By
- How Gratitude Is Expressed Around The World
- 5 Everyday Ways To Teach Your Kids Gratitude
Elizabeth Inglese is a writer living in San Fransisco, California. She earned her bachelor’s in english literature and cultures from Brown University and her master's in writing from The University of Southern California. She's the former Deputy Editor of mbg, and has also worked for Vogue, Architectural Digest, Bon Appetit, and Good Magazine covering food, health, and culture. A collector of curious facts and an avid puzzle solver, Inglese is happiest when cooking for her family and friends.