I've talked about gratitude in many past newsletters, and I've encouraged many patients to practice gratitude daily. Though I've read several books about gratitude, I wasn't aware until recently of an interesting study from 2015 that showed how gratitude improved people's health.
The study participants all had significant heart disease. Researchers wanted to know if a gratitude practice improved their physical and mental wellbeing. The results showed an association between having a gratitude practice and better sleep, less depressed mood, less fatigue, and better self-efficacy to maintain cardiac function. Additionally, gratitude was shown to decrease inflammatory biomarkers, which could mean not only better health for cardiovascular patients but also potentially anyone else with an inflammatory condition.
How does one practice gratitude? Try these 2 simple things.
1. Journaling. Every day, write down 5 things for which you are grateful. Try to list 5 different things every time. These things can be seemingly small (the water pressure in your shower) to bigger things (receiving good news from a doctor).
2. Meditation Mantras. Meditation can be tricky at times, and for the times when you're trying to be still but your brain is busy with thoughts swirling, adding a mantra to that meditation practice may be helpful. These mantras can be super simple. I am grateful. I appreciate the abundance in my life.