Gratitude has been shown to improve both mental and physical health.
In today’s blog post, let’s consider why it’s an important part of a healthy lifestyle and share some questions to guide your daily gratitude practice.
Research links a negative mindset to poor heart health, increased inflammation, depression, suicidal thoughts, and a weaker immune system. We may even be hardwired to focus on the bad in an effort to avoid future pain — something that neuroscientists call “negativity bias.” Fortunately, we can counterbalance this tendency with gratitude.
Did you know the practice of gratitude can positively impact your wellbeing? To start, it often encourages people to exercise, make better dietary choices, and sleep well. Grateful people are also less likely to use tobacco products or abuse alcohol and other substances. It may lower blood pressure and strengthen immunity. Gratitude also improves relationships. In other words, it makes people happier!
Ready to get started? Incorporate five minutes of gratitude into your nightly routine by considering the questions below.
You can journal your answers or share your responses with a partner or friend.
1. What did your body do for you today?
Have you ever taken a moment to thank your legs for carrying you through the day or marvel at all that your hands do? Without even thinking about it, you take over eight million breaths a year. Your body works hard for you and deserves a moment of gratitude.
2. How did you nourish your body today?
You take steps each and every day to keep your body safe and healthy, and a big part of that effort is what you eat. Did you cook a favorite recipe or try something new today? Remind yourself to savor your next meal. Need some inspiration in the kitchen? Check out these tips for healthy cooking!
3. Did you move your body in a joyful way?
Reflect on this morning’s yoga session or this evening’s neighborhood walk. Maybe you only had time to complete a breathing exercise in between meetings — that’s okay too! Know that you’re doing your best.
4. Did you connect with someone special today?
Maybe you grabbed coffee with a close friend or spent a few extra minutes snuggling with your children before bed. Let your heart fill with gratitude for these relationships in your life. Consider how you can foster other connections, whether it’s with a “thinking of you” text for a relative, a birthday card for a faraway friend, or an after-dinner chat with a spouse.
5. How did you spend your time today?
You have 24 hours each day — did you use them wisely? Think about three moments that made you smile. Then, consider how you want to spend your time tomorrow. Maybe make an effort to limit your social media use or pick up a book instead of watching a television show.
Gratitude is good medicine! Give yourself a healthy dose of it this holiday season.