5 Benefits of Gratitude
Last week people all over the country were thinking about what they are thankful for—but did you know that practicing gratitude all year long actually has scientifically proven benefits? While it’s wonderful to count your blessings on Thanksgiving, cultivating gratitude throughout the year is an overlooked tool that could have an enormous impact on your physical and mental health. As a holistic dental practice in Prescott, our team at Prescott Dentistry cares about your overall health and wellbeing. Here are five benefits of gratitude that could have a substantial effect on your quality of life:
1. Improves physical health.
People who practice gratitude reportedly experience fewer aches and pains, and express feeling healthier than other people. Grateful people are also more likely to take care of their physical health. They exercise more often and are more likely to schedule regular check-up appointments, which in turn leads to a healthier, longer life.
2. Improves mental health.
Those who have a regular gratitude practice experience less of the toxic emotions, such as envy, resentment, frustration and regret. Gratitude researchers confirm that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression and anxiety by releasing “feel-good” chemicals, like serotonin and dopamine, in the brain.
Grateful people are more likely to act with compassion even when others are not, according to a 2011 study by the University of Kentucky. Study participants who ranked higher on gratitude scales were less reactionary, even when they received negative feedback. These participants experienced more sensitivity and empathy toward others and were less likely to seek revenge.
3. Improves sleep.
Writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep, according to a 2008 study conducted by the School of Psychology at the University of Manchester. Spending as little as 15 minutes before going to sleep jotting down a few things you are grateful for may help you sleep better. It’s certainly worth a try!
4. Improves self-esteem.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that gratitude increased the self-esteem of athletes, which is essential to athletic performance. Other studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons that come with low self-esteem. Grateful people are more likely to be able to appreciate the accomplishments of other people, rather than becoming resentful toward those who have more money or better jobs.
5. Helps with trauma and resilience.
Research has shown gratitude may have many benefits when it comes to healing from trauma. A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War Veterans with higher levels of gratitude had lower rates of PTSD. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major factor in participants who experienced increased resilience following the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Our Team is Grateful for You
By sharing these benefits of gratitude, we aren’t suggesting that you ignore the hard things in life. But finding a few things each day that you are grateful for—even in the midst of challenging life circumstances—can dramatically enhance your wellbeing and foster resilience. Stay tuned for our next blog post where we will discuss some specific ways you can incorporate a practice of gratitude into your daily life. In the meantime, our team at Prescott Dentistry hopes you had a Happy Thanksgiving! We are grateful for our wonderful clients!