The holiday season is just around the corner, but why wait until Thanksgiving to remember everything you’re thankful for? Studies have shown that showing gratitude on a daily basis can come along with some serious mental and physical health benefits!
Gratitude and Improved Wellbeing
Psychologists from the University of California and University of Miami have focused on studying the effects of thankfulness and gratitude for years. In one study, they broke participants up into three different groups and asked each group to write a few sentences per week, each on different topics.
The first group was asked to write sentences about things that had happened to them during the week for which they were grateful. These could be as small or as large as the participants wanted them to be.
The second group wrote about things that had bothered them that week, and the third group wrote about neutral things that had happened – things that didn’t make them feel particularly good or bad.
The participants were evaluated after ten weeks of following this exercise. The group that wrote about things they were thankful for was significantly more optimistic than the other two groups. Interestingly enough, this first group also exercised more and made fewer visits to their doctors than the other two groups.
Taking a minute or two out of your day to jot down a few things for which you’re grateful is a small gesture that could have a significant impact on your wellbeing and overall mental and physical health. When we become too focused on the negative aspects of our lives, it’s all too easy to forget about everything that we have going for us – whether that be health, family and friends, a beloved pet, or even waking up on a beautiful sunny morning.
If you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders, please don’t hesitate to contact the Allegheny-Kiski Health Foundation’s community nurses for resources and support within our community.