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6 Health Benefits of Gratitude

By Lisa Frania, Guest Blogger

Have an attitude of gratitude

Doesn’t it feel like we’re all stuck in some strange dimension as we live out the cult classic “Groundhog Day”?

We may not actually be waiting for Punxsutawney Phil to see his shadow each day, but thanks to the past year, we’ve been reliving the same day over and over again: we roll out of bed, grab our sweatpants, make our favorite brew and hit the home office for a day of too much screen time and not enough real-people time. Then hit “repeat” again—and again—and again . . . .

But even though we may feel frustrated and complain about our daily blahs thanks to the pandemic—and 2020 in general—isn’t it possible to feel at least a little grateful as we begin the new year? What about our good health? Our family? Our circle of friends? Our cute, little fluffball we get to obsessively snuggle?

As we look forward to the new year, Psychology Today offers several proven health benefits of being grateful AF:

  1. Gratitude opens the door to more relationships. Acknowledging the positive side of life will help train your brain as you head into the future. Saying “thank you” isn’t just something your grandma expected of you, but it can help you gain new friends.
  2. Gratitude improves physical health. Grateful people experience reduced physical pain, decreased levels of inflammation, lower blood pressure and possess general cardiovascular health. So jump on that treadmill and slay your next workout!
  3. Gratitude improves psychological health. Gratitude has also been connected to a “zest for life,” sensitivity and empathy, ultimately reducing unhealthy emotions like jealousy, anger, regret and resentment. Who cares if someone has that limited edition Golden Ticket mug (well…you should be a little jealous) or the latest PS5 —don’t be haters! Appreciating what other people have and what they’ve been able to accomplish increases happiness, a sense of well-being and other good vibes.
  4. Grateful people sleep better. Writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep. Writing, according to some health experts, is one of the best ways to show gratitude and can help condition the brain to feel more grateful more often. Take 15 minutes before bed to jot down all the things you’ve felt grateful for in the past 24 hours or focus on just one event and list all of the details associated with it. It’s a great way to help you get your Zzzs.
  5. Gratitude increases mental strength. Research shows that gratitude also leads to less stress and quicker recovery from injury, trauma and grief. Higher levels of gratitude lead to lower rates of post-traumatic stress disorder. Having an attitude of gratitude—even during the worst times—makes you a true bada*s.
  6. Grateful people drink coffee, coffee, and more Death Wish Coffee! No matter what is going on around us in this crazy world, a big shout out goes to the simple things in life that we can do to make it through the day—brewing our favorite cups of coffee can offer peace of mind, happiness, and some moments to meditate on all that we have to be thankful for.

So although we couldn’t wait to say goodbye to 2020, let’s take a few minutes to appreciate what we have. Embracing gratitude in 2021 is one of the easiest ways to improve our overall health and well-being.

You’ll feel grateful you made the change—and you’ll sleep better too!

RELATED: 20+20 good things that happened in 2020