As the holiday season approaches, it’s common to reflect on the past year, expressing gratitude and looking forward to what’s next. Gratitude, though often overlooked, offers a myriad of health benefits that can boost your well-being, especially during the festive season.
While Executive Medicine of Texas offers a range of health and wellness services to address various health needs, we also recognize the impact that simple practices, like gratitude, can have on your overall well-being.
Take a moment to explore the benefits of being grateful and how practicing gratefulness can affect your overall well-being.
1. Boosts physical health
The science is clear: Having a grateful mindset is not only good for your emotional health, but also your physical health. People who regularly express gratitude experience fewer aches and pains and have lower blood pressure and boosted immune systems.
They're also more inclined to participate in activities that increase health and wellness, including being open to making lifestyle and habitual changes after having a comprehensive executive physical.
2. Lowers stress levels
Stress has emerged as a major detriment to health. Chronically elevated stress hormones, such as cortisol, can lead to low-level inflammation that damages the body over time. When under chronic stress, the body works overtime to try to keep hormones balanced. Even having a single hormone out of whack can lead to an unwanted domino effect. An attitude of gratitude can help regulate these levels.
Chronic stress is implicated in premature aging, digestive problems, and can even impact heart health. Being grateful can help balance out the stress of the holidays, a time when travel and extra responsibilities can ratchet up stress.
3. Reduces low mood and depression
Gratitude has a unique ability to anchor us, helping to combat feelings of low mood and depression.
When you make it a habit to focus on the positive, recounting your blessings and the good moments, the brain releases feel-good chemicals such as serotonin. Over time, this practice can elevate your overall mood, making the holidays not just festive, but genuinely more joyful and emotionally enriching.
4. Improves sleep quality
Ever had those nights when sleep seems elusive and you're tossing and turning? Gratitude might be the solution you've been overlooking. Being thankful can calm the mind, reduce anxiety, and promote a deeper, more restful sleep.
A regular gratitude practice can actually change the neural structures in the brain, promoting better sleep quality. So, the next time you're settling in for the night, take a few moments to ponder reasons to be thankful and drift into a peaceful slumber.
5. Protects heart health
Gratitude is great for the heart as well. Being thankful and focusing on positive emotions is linked with better heart health, specifically in terms of reducing inflammation and improving heart rate variability.
These benefits collectively contribute to a healthier heart, fewer risks of cardiovascular diseases, and better overall cardiovascular health. As the holidays surround you with warmth, let your heart beat in rhythm with gratitude, promoting a state of well-being.
What are some things you can do focus on the positive?
It’s easy to go through life focusing on the negative instead of the positive. If you’re having trouble focusing on the things to be grateful for, try the following:
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Show appreciation to the people who have a positive impact in your life
- Consider volunteer work
- Practice positive self-talk
Here's to a holiday season filled with health, happiness, and heartfelt gratitude. Reach out to us, and let’s embark on a journey toward optimal health together.