I recently an interesting lecture in Northern California on the way gratitude can affect our health. It was presented by a professor who has studied the role of gratitude in a scientific way. The findings were incredibly interesting and I’d like to share them with you. The lecture began with the following statistic: 8-33% of people who practice gratitude feel more alive, are more joyful and exercise more! People who know them say they are more healthful. Positive emotions have long been reported in medical journals as being associated with lower rates of morbidity, and less severe symptoms and levels of pain. Gratitude, in a nutshell, has the power to heal, energize and change lived.
This researcher set out to answer these three questions:
1. Are there grateful people?
2. Can gratitude be cultivated on a regular basis?
3. What are the affects of it on, happiness, health and well being?
He mentions a British author, Chesterton, who lived his life being constantly grateful. He gave the following gem of a quote by him,
“Gratitude is Happiness Doubled By Wonder”
Our lecturer proceeded to conduct an experiment on gratitude by doing a test chad. He had two groups of people keep a journal for various amounts of time. One group wrote down five things they were grateful for each day and one group wrote about their hassles in their everyday lives. They were all asked to rate thirty different emotions, sleep habits and physical well being characteristics. The results from those who kept gratitude journals were amazing. The following list encompasses many of the findings:
– take better care of their health
– inspires more generosity
– get along with people better
– better eating habits
– less lonely
– better relationships with doctors
– more compliant with medications
Grateful people recall more positive events from their past and neutral events are viewed as beneficial.
“Gratitude is the memory of the heart” French saying
How Does Gratitude Work With Physicians?
It was determined that doctors are surprised to be thanked, like being appreciated by their patients, and having grateful patients is associated with greater meaning and less patient care burnout. Expressions of gratitude fosters better relationships between doctors and nurses, too!
How Does Gratitude Help You in A Skin Deep Way?
The following are all connected to being grateful:
– improved biomarkers
– cell aging is better
– telomeres don’t unravel as quickly
– lowers blood pressure
– higher levels of good cholesterol
– lower levels of lousy cholesterol
– better cardiac outcomes
What are the Obstacles To Gratitude?
Persistent negativity, entitlement, fear of dependency and focus on the self are the well known barriers to gratitude.
The lecturer suggests uniting a gratitude letter to someone from your life that you’ve never thanked. Go visit the person and read the letter. Be consistent, specific and include something of a surprise that happened.
He claims that “life is an invitation to gratitude and that it’s a choice. You already have all the tools you need.”
He ended by saying he corresponds with a 93year old woman who started practicing gratitude at 88. She changed her life, wants to live to 100 and believes that gratitude will get her there,
A real life example of growing old with gusto!