Improve Your Health With a Gratitude Adjustment
By Dr. Molly Casey
Gratitude can change your health. It’s true. A simple way to change your overall well-being is to begin engaging with gratefulness. Gratitude can help decrease stress, and stress is a major contributor to nearly every chronic disease. Stress certainly isn’t helpful while attempting to move through or heal from more acute issues, either. I highly recommend engaging with gratitude practices daily since it’s the month of Thanksgiving. Let’s highlight it now.
Gratitude and Well-Being
Gratitude is a huge word. Let’s define it for the purposes of this article as a general state of thankfulness and/or appreciation. It’s generally a result of having spent time paying attention to the things you find most valuable and important in life.
This great article from the American Psychiatric Association summarizes the results of two studies that show practicing gratitude can be good for mental health and well-being. In one study, researchers kept track of three groups of participants -- one that kept track of things they were grateful for, one group that tracked nothing, and one group that tracked the hassles they encountered. Researchers found reduced depressive symptoms and reduced perceived stress in participants who kept gratitude diaries compared to both of the other groups; researchers concluded, “taking stock of thankful events is an effective approach to reduce stress and depressive symptoms.”
Your body deals with stress all the time. It’s mainly categorized into three types: physical (think accidents, traumas, poor posture); biochemical (think food, environmental and medication effects), and emotional stress. Each type of stress negatively affects the body and your health. Your ability to decrease the effects of these stresses partially depends upon your ability to decrease the occurrence of them. If you can decrease emotional levels of stress by adding a simple gratitude practice, I say do it. The benefits are likely far beyond what you, I or anyone else realizes as of yet. Researchers are constantly finding new ways that the reduction of stress is a health promoter -- both physical and mental health.
There are numerous ways to implement practices of gratitude into your life. The key is consistency. I personally recommend the act of writing down daily 5-10 things that you’re grateful for at the day’s end. Here are a few other ideas:
- Visualizations that involve feeling, in all of your senses, thankfulness for a certain event or situation
- Write thank you notes to those you value in your life
- Share something with another on something you are thankful for or have found helpful in your life
- Write down all the things in your life that you feel are going right
- Engage in an act of kindness
Implementing a regular gratitude practice will serve you and those around you because you are more delightful and less stressed to be around. Less stress in your life means a healthier you. Try it for the next 30 days and see how your life changes! We at The Joint Chiropractic are thankful for you!
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