By Jaime Boyachek RN FNLP

Did you know the thoughts we think can have a profound effect on our health? This is often the last thing many people think of when it comes to their health & well-being, but it’s an extremely important part of the puzzle that deserves to be addressed regularly.

Not only do grateful people experience fewer aches and pains, they also tend to take better care of themselves. Being grateful can reduce a multitude of toxic emotions. Emotions like envy, anger, resentment, frustration and regret can rob us, not only of our personal happiness but contribute to creating disease in our bodies. When we focus on being thankful, even when it seems challenging, we help release and let go of those negative emotions, increasing our contentment and reducing depression and anger.

There are many ways the benefits of having gratitude can be reflected in our daily lives!

1. Sleep: There have been many studies showing that writing in a gratitude journal before going to bed improves sleep!

2. Stress: This is a huge player when it comes to affecting our health. Gratitude has been shown to not only reduce stress, but also aid in overcoming various forms of trauma.

3. Pain: Gratitude and thinking positively can have an analgesic effect by stimulating the release of endogenous opioids.

4. Lower Blood Pressure: When we are negative, our blood vessels constrict, causing a rise in blood pressure. We know this emotion puts a strain on the heart and other organs and can lead to serious health issues.

5. Immune system: When we practice gratitude, we can increase our levels of immunoglobulin A, an antibody blood protein that helps to fight off sickness.

6. Relaxation: Gratitude activates the restful and digestive parts of our nervous system which help to support all of the health benefits listed above.

7. Long Life: And if all of these positive traits aren’t enough to get you excited about the perks of showing gratitude, having a positive mindset has also been shown to extend a person’s lifespan.

These are some great ways to incorporate gratitude into our daily lives:
• Start your morning off right (or end your day!) with a gratitude journal and write at least three things you are thankful for.

• Tell others why you are thankful for them. It’s an easy thing to do, and the positive effect it has on people in our lives is contagious.

• Smile! When we smile, we release endorphins. It’s nearly impossible to be negative when we make the effort to wear a smile on our faces!

• Take time to notice the beauty surrounding you.

• Send a card to someone.

• Volunteer to help others.

This is the time of year we tend to reflect on our lives and show appreciation for the things we are thankful for. We here at Healthy Habit Health Foods are thankful for YOU! Let us know how we can help you in any way. And for living healthier lives, let’s practice gratitude all year long – Happy Thanksgiving!