What we think and how we approach life can have a profound impact on how we feel. In the last couple of years, scientists and researches have discovered that meditation, for example, produces tangible benefits in health. Meditation has actually been shown to have neuro-protective benefits that can help protect against neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease.
Researchers have also found that meditation can lower blood pressure, reduce stress hormone levels and more. Likewise, research has also discovered that a feeling of gratitude can produce a range of mental and physical changes. In this article, we will explore the diverse benefits that come along with having a feeling of gratitude. As it turns out, the sooner you start thinking about what you should be thankful for, the better off you will be!
Benefits of Gratitude One-Boost Your Immunity
Just as meditation boosts immunity, the same has been discovered for having feelings of gratitude. In particular, researchers discovered that feelings of appreciation can boost the level of IgA. IgA is a very important immune antibody and works as a vital part of your body's own natural defenses. A strong immune system can do more than just prevent colds and flu's; it can also substantially decrease your risks of developing diseases such as cancer.
Benefits of Gratitude Two-Lower Blood Pressure
Once more, just like meditation, a feeling of gratitude and appreciation for what one has in life, can lead to lower blood pressure. Apparently, feeling appreciative has a calming effect that produces real world, physical changes. The American Journal of Cardiology cited a study that proved the correlation between gratitude and lower blood pressure levels. We should pause to briefly note that most of the medical community acknowledging this fact is impressive. A generation ago, they would have probably thought such a correlation was highly unlikely.
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Benefits of Gratitude Three-Stress Reduction
Stress has been proven to cause aging, as it produces the release of powerful stress hormones. These hormones cause DNA damage and shorten the length of telomeres. Stress reduction is thus vital for reducing aging.
A study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology interestingly showed that participants who had a feeling of gratitude and focused on that feeling were able to deal better with chronic stress. In this way, gratitude can act as a coping mechanism that helps people deal with the stress of life.
How Can You Incorporate a Feeling of Gratitude Into Your Own Life?
Making a list of the things that you should be grateful for is a good place to start. In her book Simple Abundance, Sarah Ban Breathnach suggests using a gratitude journal. Her suggestion is to write down what is going well in your life and focus on those points instead of dwelling on the negative.
So why is it that establishing and cultivating a feeling of gratitude produces such changes? One clear explanation is that if one is focusing on what is good in one's life, there is no time to think about negative issues and problems. Negative emotions trigger stress and stress hormones, which have a dramatically negative impact on both one's health and outlook on life. In a bit of a twist, the more you focus on what is going well in your life, the more likely it is that things will go even better!