The Science of Gratitude

Especially during this time of year, the topics of gratitude and thankfulness are often discussed. When my family hosts Thanksgiving dinner, one of the things we do is ask each of our guests to share what they are most thankful for over the past year.  This is not an uncommon practice; I know many families that engage in this very tradition and it is a wonderful example of how following traditions can help us build deep connections to others.  Today, I want to share a bit of the science behind what makes gratitude such a powerful tool for wellness and resiliency.

Gratitude has far reaching effects on happiness through many components.  Effects include increased positive outcomes in areas such as emotions, personal health, social attachments, personality and even career.  Research has identified that the single most important characteristic of a resilient person is the presence and use of social support.   If gratitude can enhance not only your personal emotional well- being, but also one’s ability to form social connections and bonds, clearly it provides huge benefits.

Research studies have shown that gratitude also has a positive effect on health.  One such study identified that gratitude practice helped to lower blood pressure and indicated positive effects regarding immunity and healing after medical intervention.  Gratitude is crazy powerful!

Gratitude appears to have an effect on a multitude of areas that lead to positive wellness benefits and an increase in happiness.  So, this Holiday Season, let’s take time to identify some of the things we are most grateful for in our daily life.  By simply taking 5 minutes a day to reflect upon the things that bring us joy, fulfillment and love, we can profoundly change our overall wellness and resiliency.  Be well!

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