Gratitude has a Positive Impact on our Physical Health

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My last post for the theme of the month Gratitude for Your Sweet Life, focuses on the physical improvements that come from gratitude.

The American Psychological Association's Journal of Spirituality in Clinical Practice published a research study showing that gratitude can have a positive impact on heart disease.

Gratitude is defined as “an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has, as opposed to, for example, a consumer-driven emphasis on what one wants.” Gratitude involves noticing and appreciating the positive aspects of life. It is part of a positive outlook on life.

Gratitude is “also commonly seen as an aspect of spirituality,” said lead author Paul J. Mills, PhD, professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego.

Previous research has shown that people who considered themselves spiritual often had greater overall well-being, including physical health. Mills and his team looked at the role that spirituality and gratitude played for patients with asymptomatic heart failure.

These patients with asymptomatic heart failure had a structural change in their heart because of a previous heart attack that damaged the heart cells. It is considered asymptomatic because they don’t show any symptoms. The doctors chose candidates in the first three months after their heart attacks because that is the critical time for making sure that the heart doesn’t progress to heart failure with symptoms.

The researchers used standard psychological tests and gratitude journals for most days of the week, for eight weeks, along with their regular clinical care.

“We found that those patients who kept gratitude journals for those eight weeks showed reductions in circulating levels of several important inflammatory biomarkers, as well as an increase in heart rate variability while they wrote. Improved heart rate variability is considered a measure of reduced cardiac risk,” said Mills.

Incorporating gratitude into your weekly practice can help your heart emotionally and physically! Try it and let me know how it works for you.

If you are not sure how to start, you can go to my free online program 30 days of gratitude to improve your health and attitude.

To Your One Sweet Life,

Dr. Dae