The Health Benefits of Gratitude

It’s the season of giving thanks, so what better time to focus on gratitude? Practicing gratitude can improve your mental health and overall outlook on life, but it also has many benefits for your physical health. These are seven of the ways that gratitude can help your body be healthier.

Keeps your brain and body in working order

Gratitude activates the hypothalamus, the part of your brain that is responsible for regulating body temperature, metabolism, circadian rhythm, and releasing important hormones.

Releases dopamine

Gratitude releases the “feel-good” chemical dopamine in our brains, which gives us such a good feeling that we are inclined to be grateful more often.

Decreases pain

Studies have shown that those with pain who practice gratitude report a decrease in their pain and feel much more motivated to get up and go about their day. They reported that their symptoms got milder, and they felt more capable and inspired to move their bodies and get some exercise.

Helps with quality sleep

Practicing gratitude can also help you fall asleep quicker and improve your quality of sleep throughout the night. Gratitude activates the hypothalamus, which is in charge of regulating your circadian rhythms. Your circadian rhythm tells your body when it’s time to fall asleep and influences your quality of sleep.

Relieves stress

Gratitude has been shown to decrease stress. This can be due to multiple factors, one of them being the improved quality of sleep. When you’re well-rested, you automatically feel more relaxed. Although this sounds like a mental benefit, stress has a negative impact on our physical health, especially on our hearts, hormones, metabolism, and weight.

Boosts your mood

Gratitude has been linked with improvements in mood and increased positive behavior. In this case, positive mood and behaviors lead to more of the same.

Increases your energy levels

Maybe it’s due to the increased quality sleep you’re getting, or the fact that you’re less stressed, your heart is healthier, and all those feel-good chemicals are being released, but those who practice gratitude report a considerable increase in their energy levels.