We talk a lot about gratitude and its benefits, especially this time of year. But are the benefits real or just a nice thought?
In an article in the Harvard Health Journal, two doctors came together to do some research on gratitude. They asked participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics.
“One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.”
So beyond being more optimistic about life in general, their actual physical health was better!
There’s a lesson here in how we treat ourselves. Sometimes it’s easy to find things we’re grateful for…a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, shoes on our feet, family and friends. But when it’s time to look in the mirror and see the good, it can get more difficult.
Imagine the impact on your life if every day you looked at yourself in the mirror, and said one thing about yourself that you’re grateful for.
As you go through this holiday season, I want to challenge you to cultivate this “attitude of gratitude” and include yourself in your practice.
If your goal is to write down 3 things you’re grateful for, make one of them about yourself. It doesn’t have to be complicated, in fact, it should be simple!
As you look for the good in the world around you, AND in yourself, your life will improve. You will find more things that bring you joy, and as you embark (or continue) on your health and wellness journey, your results will be more sustainable when you’re simultaneously finding a love for yourself.
Try it! What do you have to lose?