Among the many remedies and prevention strategies you hear every day for ‘the virus’, you’ll hardly ever hear people talk about gratitude. That’s a real shame. Gratitude can really contribute to your health. And by health, I mean both physical AND psychological.
What do I mean by Gratitude?
It’s simple. Be thankful for all the good you receive throughout your life. No matter how bad life may be at a particular time. You can always find something that can make you thankful. Whether it’s your family, your friends, your health or just the beauty of the world. There is always something that you feel lucky to experience.
Expressing that thankful sentiment can make a difference in your life. Especially in these times. As a start, it can improve your relationships with others. This economy is taking a huge hit with everyone staying at home. The more good relationships you and your family have with other people, the better you will be able to weather the coming storm. Saying thank you regularly when people do something for you brings them closer to you.
There are many studies that show gratitude helps to combat depression. A leading gratitude researcher in Psychology Today found that expressing gratitude reduces feelings such as envy, resentment, frustration and regret. Reducing these feelings leads to more happiness and less depression. Something to really thing about if you have an elderly family member isolated in their home or a nursing facility.
Gratitude and Your Immune System
Especially important at this time is what gratitude can do for your immune system. Researchers at the Universities of Utah and Kentucky found that grateful people have 23 percent less Cortisol, the stress hormone, in their body. Other researchers in 2011 examined people who write down some things to be thankful for before bed each night. They found those people sleep much better. Sleep is a vital component of a good overall immune system.
Just as there are so many things to be thankful for, there are also so many ways to express gratitude. Many people keep ‘gratitude journals’ where they keep track of what they are thankful for every day. It’s a great way to look back on the past. Other ways range from something as simple as saying thanks in your head, to going out of your way to show someone how much you appreciate them. You can do anything from making dinner for them to buying a gift.
One way we really like to show gratitude is to say a little thankful prayer every time you wash your hands for 20 seconds.
However you want to show it, try to practice it every day I personally am so grateful to meet so many wonderful families in my assisted living homes. You’ll be amazed at how all that gratitude makes your world a better place!