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The Health Benefits of Exercising Feelings of Gratitude

It’s November and a time when we often reflect and give thanks for life’s blessings. During this time, we often “give thanks” in celebration and by giving back to those less fortunate. We hope you have lived a healthier lifestyle this year. Did you know that the power of regularly exercising feelings of gratitude has been scientifically proven to generate positive health benefits, which may be experienced the whole year through?

“Gratitude” stems from the Latin word “gratia,” meaning both gratefulness and graciousness, and can be defined as appreciating the goodness in our lives. According to Harvard Health Publications, research has shown that expressing gratitude has positive associations with feelings of happiness, by generating optimistic emotions and inspiring connections with others.

Not only do those who express gratitude feel better, but they experience improved physical and mental health. Psychology Today reports that grateful individuals feel healthier, are more likely to maintain routine scheduled checkups, and take good care of themselves, sleep better, and improve both their self-esteem and resiliency.

With health and wellness central to SCPT, we’re sharing three simple ways to embrace gratitude in your life during this holiday season and every day thereafter.

  • Say, “Thank you.” Whether you share thanks and appreciation in person, by phone, by note, letter, or email, simply expressing your gratitude brings positive and grateful emotions. According to research reported by Today, showing appreciation triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, which can reduce cortisol generated by stress and increase the feel-good hormone oxytocin.
  • Write it down. Harvard Health suggests, and Today concurs, that maintaining a gratitude journal and dedicating time on a daily or weekly basis to consider all for which you are grateful may be beneficial. Give yourself a goal of listing a certain number of reflections in each entry, and revisit the feelings that you experienced with each one. Writing in a gratitude journal each evening can help you achieve better sleep and may offer anti-aging effects.
  • Focus. Mindful meditation allows you to clear your mental clutter and be present to experience your feelings at each moment. Through deep breathing, peaceful surroundings, and mental visualization, meditation offers clarity that can be valuable for expressing gratitude daily. For additional meditation techniques, consider SCPT’s “Mindful Meditation” suggestions.

SCPT truly appreciates the power of gratitude as we reflect on our company’s 32-year history of helping thousands of patients. We are sincerely grateful for each and every patient with whom we have had the opportunity to work with over the years. Thank you for allowing SCPT to be present in your lives during your recovery/rehabilitation, competitive training and achievements, milestones along your life’s journey, and every day. Together, we can always achieve more. And for that, we thank you.