The Benefits of Gratitude
Research done by the University of California, Davis found that gratitude is one of the best medicines out there. There are numerous benefits of expressing gratitude, including the fact that it improves your physical well-being and it even positively affects your behaviors. Feeling gratitude can lower your blood pressure, strengthen your immune system, and improve the quality of your sleep at night. People who express gratitude also tend to engage in more exercise, have better dietary behaviors, and are less likely to smoke or abuse alcohol. Further research also shows that gratitude is associated with:
- Lower levels of stress and and an overall more positive attitude
- Higher levels of good cholesterol (HDL), lower levels of bad cholesterol (LDL), and lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure
- Improved kidney function
- Lower levels of depression and anxiety
Choosing Gratitude Over Stress During the Holidays
The holiday season is a joyous time of year that many people look forward too. They are excited about getting a few days off work to spend quality time with loved ones or to take a winter vacation. However, research done by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner shows that stress levels increase for both men and women over the holidays as they try to make the time as special as possible for their families. Here are tips on how to choose gratitude over stress this holiday season!
1. Let Go of Expectations. The expectation of making the holidays perfect for everyone can cause you unnecessary stress. The first step to feeling gratitude is to just let go of expectations. Remember, years later no one will remember what gifts they received, what food you made, or how well you decorated the house. What people remember is the quality time you all get to spend together.
2. Shift Your Mindset. The second step is to shift into a more positive mindset. To do this, slow down and focus on experiences as they unfold. In other words, be present. Think about why certain moments make you happy and hold on to that feeling. This teaches your brain to look for positive moments throughout the day, helping to keep you feeling happier for longer.
3. Express Gratitude. The last step is to fully express gratitude. This is different for everyone. You can keep a gratitude journal, tell your loved ones around you what you are grateful for as you are feeling it, you can send “Thank You” style Christmas cards, whatever feels right to you. Regardless, expressing gratitude will help you feel happier and it will start a chain reaction of positivity around you.
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