Your mind can do powerful things.
While you may think you only use your mind to control the things your body does, you can actually use your mind to control the things your body feels.
Taking control over your mind can help you decrease negative physical symptoms as well as boost positive feelings. One way you can use your mind to feel better physically is by practicing gratitude.
Being grateful has a variety of health benefits that work on your body as well as your mind and soul.
17 Gratitude Health Benefits
Researchers have found there are concrete gratitude health benefits. Being grateful doesn’t just feel good in your mind and heart; it actually benefits your body. It can:
- Lower blood pressure
- Strengthen your immune system
- Reduce pain
- Relax the nervous system
- Lower stress
- Reduce depression
- Improve sleep
- Lead to increased rates of exercise
- Lead to increased rates of self-care
In addition to providing bodily health benefits, living a life of gratitude also offers benefits for mental health. It can:
- Reduce depression
- Boost self-esteem
- Increase resilience
- Enhance empathy
- Reduce aggression
- Increase happiness
- Strengthen relationships
- Improve optimism
Being grateful can help you feel better when dealing with tough psychical health issues. It can also help you get through difficult emotional times.
A study published in Behavior Research and Therapy even found that Vietnam Veterans who practiced gratitude had lower rates of post-traumatic stress disorder after war — showing that being grateful helps you proactively protect yourself from future stresses.
Even better, practicing gratitude has a compounding effect. The more grateful you are, the easier it is to continue to be grateful in the future. It’s a practice that gets easier with time and leads to even more benefits.
Such a small practice and change of mindset can lead to improved mind, body, and soul.
So, are you ready to start practicing gratitude?
How to Practice Gratitude
Hopefully, you said yes and are ready to embrace a new mindset of gratitude. And if you are, here are few tips for getting started.
Practicing gratitude looks different for everyone. It could be doing something as simple as taking a few moments to breathe and be grateful for the things around you. Or, it could be as big as hosting a dinner to thank all of the important people in your life.
Find out what works for you by starting with these six simple ways to practice gratitude.
- Write it down. One of the easiest ways to regularly practice gratitude is by keeping a gratitude journal. Set a time each day (I recommend at the end of the night when you’re reflecting on your day) and jot down at least three to five things that you are grateful for.
- Tell someone you appreciate them. This action comes with a two-fold benefit. You get to feel good about showing someone that you care, and someone else gets to feel good by being appreciated.
- Stop complaining. Now, this might be easier said than done. But start to make a conscious effort to pull yourself back when you feel like you’re slipping into complain mode. Holding thoughts about what is bad in your life won’t make you feel any better. But, holding thoughts about what is good in your life can.
- Avoid negativity. Negativity is contagious. If you constantly surround yourself with media, movies, and people that promote pessimism and negativity, it’s going to be difficult to remain grateful. Carefully consider what influences are in your life, and look to surround yourself with more positive people and things.
- Give back. You can see how much you really have when you start giving it to people who have far less than you. Giving back — whether by donating time, money, or resources — can help you see how much you have to be thankful for.
- Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of checking in on your thoughts, feelings, and emotions and becoming in touch and aware of them. This type of awareness can help you be more grateful as you become better at seeing the good things in front of you. To work on being more mindful, try taking a meditation or yoga class.
Recommended Reading: 7 Subtle Mini Meditations You Can Do Anywhere, Anytime
Get More Tips for Living with a Healthy Mind, Body and Heart
Gratitude health benefits are real. When you are more mindful and thankful for the things that you have, you will feel better in your mind, body, and soul.
But, practicing gratitude is just one way to change your habits to live a healthier, happier life.
For more tips on how you can take control of your mind and body to feel better, download our free ebook “How to Take Control and Start Living a Life You Love.” It includes 75 small daily adjustments that can help you improve your mind, body, and attitude. Download your complimentary copy today.