5 Reasons Why Giving Thanks is Good for You

Posted on Nov 26, 2019 in Uncategorized

On the fourth Thursday of November each year, millions of people in the United States sit down to overflowing tables – a golden stuffed turkey and traditional side dishes at the center of most of them – as they celebrate Thanksgiving.

Here, five reasons why giving thanks is actually good for you.

  • Counting blessings boosts your health. Emmons’ and McCullough’s research showed that grateful people had less depression and stress, lower blood pressure, more energy, and greater optimism.

  • Slow down the aging clock. In older adults, Emmons and McCullough found, a daily practice of gratitude even slowed down some of the effects of neurodegeneration that often occurs as we age.

  • Put the brakes on stress. Cortisol is often called the “stress hormone,” and when our bodies produce too much, it can deplete the immune system and raise blood sugar levels. A study conducted at the Institute of HeartMath Research Center in California found that positive emotions like appreciation significantly lowered levels of cortisol.
  • Being thankful helps you bond. Research by U.S. psychologists Sara Algoe and Baldwin Way indicates that gratitude also can lead to better relationships. The explanation may be connected to increased production of oxytocin, sometimes called the “bonding hormone” because it fosters calm and security in relationships.
  • Gratefulness = good for the heart and waistline? According to research Emmons cites in his book Gratitude Works!, people with high blood pressure who actively express thankfulness “can achieve up to a 10 percent reduction in systolic blood pressure and decrease their dietary fat intake by up to 20 percent.” With Thanksgiving and other food-centered holidays coming up next month, that’s a potential benefit to be grateful for all year long.

With benefits like these, maybe we should practice being thankful more than once a year.