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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Chocko, NTP

5 ways gratitude impacts your health

When we think about our health, we think in terms of what we're eating, what we're drinking, how much we're exercising -- but we rarely think about our health being related to what we think about.

It is human nature to focus on the negative. Negative thoughts lead to stress, anxiety, and can really impact your health in a bad way. The best way to overcome this is to start with gratitude.

Here’s why gratitude is so essential to your health...

1. It improves overall well being

Studies have found that giving thanks and counting blessings can help people sleep better, lower stress and improve interpersonal relationships. But sometimes we take things for granted and no longer appreciate them the way we used to. Make a point of taking time to pause and noticing all of the great things that impact you every day.

2. It builds relationships

Find ways to weave in expressing gratitude for those things people do for you that you appreciate. Even if it's just your kids putting the dishes in the dishwasher for you -- express your gratitude. It will motivate them to keep doing more, and it will reduce your stress by seeing the good in things.

3. It helps your mental wellness

Taking a moment to be thankful for the things you have despite the challenges is good for your mental health and well-being. Sometimes it can be hard to see the good things in life, so keep a journal if necessary and write things down. When you feel low, you can flip through it and find something to smile about. As an added bonus, it boosts more than your mood by increasing energy levels too.

4. You’ll sleep better

When you find things to be grateful for instead of focusing on the negativity, it allows your mind to relax. This, in turn, leads to better sleep. Try writing a gratitude list before you go to bed to use this power to your advantage so you can fall asleep faster.

5. It can help you with your exercise too

With recognition for things that you’re grateful for, you feel happier. Feeling happier gives you more energy, and hence, it will keep you feeling good about your workouts too. Sometimes the only thing we need is the motivation to START the workout, and a positive attitude helps get you there.

So as you can see there are lots of ways to start a gratitude practice. I like to integrate gratitude into my mediation practice. Even if it is just for a few minutes, I sit down in a quiet place and think about all of the people and things in my life that I am grateful for.

What is your gratitude practice?

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