Gratitude is important every day, not just on Thanksgiving.
It’s good for our physical, mental, spiritual and social health – and it even has a relationship to exercise.
“Studies suggest that making a habit of noticing what’s going well in your life could have health benefits,” the US National Institutes of Health says.
Age can make us more grateful, when we consider the power of our life experiences and our good fortune, along with our perspective and wisdom. Try to deliberately take a few moments each day to express gratitude — to other people, to your idea of God, and in a daily journal. Writing down reasons to be thankful really does wonders to fight self-pity, depression, and bad moods.
When we focus on our blessings (like generally good health and mobility), we’re less likely to be down in the dumps about our challenges or shortcomings (like what we assume our bodies can’t do anymore).
Studies show gratitude improves your emotional wellbeing and stress management. It has been linked to fewer signs of heart disease. Meditating and practicing kindness have similar benefits, the NIH says.
Psychology Today reports that grateful people have fewer aches and pains and feel healthier than other people. They’re also more likely to take care of themselves, exercise more, and keep regular checkups.
Why else should we be thankful for giving thanks?
It reduces symptoms of depression, our urges to overeat, and high blood pressure, studies show. Plus, it helps us sleep. So try counting your blessings at night, not sheep.
Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.