Gratitude boost

7 ways feeling thankful boosts mental and physical health

Giving thanks is an intentional act — and can lead to some incredible outcomes.

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As the name suggests, Thanksgiving implies a time where people give thanks — at least in theory.

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But maybe it just reminds you of turkey or the dread of having to travel during the holidays.

Giving thanks, or showing gratitude, isn’t something that starts and ends with a holiday.

Rather, incorporating regular gratitude practices into your lifestyle can provide a significant boost to your mental and physical health.

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(And it might be more productive to be gracious on your own time, rather than as you’re arguing with relatives at the dinner table.)

Here are 7 ways gratitude can improve your health:

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7. Encourages healthy behaviors

One study from 2013 found that people who engaged in gratitude practices reported making healthier choices in their lives — such as eating well, avoiding excess drinking, and socializing with friends.

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6. Decreases anxiety

Several studies have found that gratitude can tamp down anxiety, as it leads to a “more compassionate relationship with the self.” But it might not be effective for everyone.

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5. Mitigates stress

Gratitude fosters a sense of social support, which authors of a 2007 study note can protect people against stress and depression.

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4. Promotes emotional wellness

Overall wellbeing is associated with emotional health, and practicing gratitude has been shown to increase empathy and give people stability when it comes to managing their feelings.

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3. Helps with self-improvement

Whatever you’re looking to improve on, getting in the right headspace is an important first step. A 2017 study found that gratitude can help cultivate positive emotions that can keep you motivated.

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2. Improves sleep

Mental wellbeing can have a big effect on sleep, and one study from 2008 found that people who expressed more gratitude got higher quality shut-eye.

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1. Helps you process life

Life can get tough, and practicing regular thanksgiving in the form of a gratitude journal or letter-writing can be a consistent way to remind yourself of the good things you have.

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Click here for a brief guide on how to start practicing gratitude.

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