This Thanksgiving, many Americans will gather with their family and friends to eat turkey and give thanks. And while that second helping of pumpkin pie might not be so good for your health, the rest of the tradition could be.
Giving Thanks Leads to Psychological Well-being
You might have heard that practicing gratitude is good for your psychological well-being. It makes sense. Talking about the things you are grateful for would certainly put a person in a good mood. And in fact, research shows that the act of practicing gratitude—writing or talking about reasons you have to be thankful—can make people happier, improve relationships, and counteract depression.
Gratitude Makes Your Body Healthy, Too
The psychological benefits of gratitude might not come as a big surprise, but many people don't know that it can be good for your physical health, too. There's evidence that people who practice gratitude often have better physical health.
In one study, participants who kept an online gratitude journal reported better physical health. These individuals experienced less stomach pain, fewer headaches, reduced congestion, and even clearer skin.
In another case, participants were divided into three groups. All participants journaled once a week for ten weeks. One group wrote about things they were grateful for, another wrote about hassles, and the third simply recorded their daily events. Those who wrote about gratitude reported fewer physical symptoms like headaches, sore muscles, shortness of breath, and nausea.
Researchers studied the effects of gratitude and loneliness on physical health. In their work, gratitude significantly predicted fewer physical health symptoms. Adults who said they had high levels of gratefulness had fewer headaches, respiratory infections, sleep disturbances, and stomach problems. These same grateful people also reported less loneliness, which might also contribute to the better health outcomes.
So to sum up, there's reason to believe that practicing gratitude can potentially result in:
That's certainly something to be thankful for!