Cruise through the holidays with grace and gratitude
Gratitude has been on our minds a lot this holiday season. And although it is something that should be practiced year round, it comes into sharper focus near the holidays. In our second series of three, we dig into the science of gratitude, holiday stressors and how mindshift can play a critical role in your physical and emotional well being. The Vedic sages who discovered Ayurveda always knew that gratitude is a key practice for health at all levels.
Gratitude has been thoroughly studied over the last twenty years and the findings are worth paying attention to. When focusing on gratitude amazing things happen in the brain and body. The benefits of practicing gratitude have been linked to decreases in depression, increasing good-will towards others and feeling more satisfied in daily relationships. The best part about feeding gratitude is that it is free and relatively easy to practice. By investing a little time and effort not only will your individual well being improve, it will also positively impact everyone around you.
Cultivating gratitude not only makes things look better, studies show they actually get better. Not only for you but for the people you share your life with. So this holiday season when things feel like too much, take a pause and reflect on what you can be grateful for.
The science behind a happiness
Harvard Medical School reports that gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity and build strong relationships (HMS, 2011).
Taking the time to shift to a positive mentality may feel like something small or too subtle to notice but the research supports that changing mindsets is worth paying attention to. Psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons from the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, tested three groups of people. The first journaled weekly about things they were grateful for in their life, the second documented daily occurrences that irritated or displeased them and the third group was directed to document events that affected them with no emphasis on the positive or negative. Over the course of 10 weeks, the gratitude group had less visits to the physician and reported that they overall had a much more positive outlook about their lives than the other two groups.
The link between gratitude, optimism and physical health
A study completed by Maruta, Colligan, Malinchoc, and Offord studied the link between longevity, tying together a patient’s identity as an optimist or pessimist and if it was an indicator for early death. Patients were categorized by medical researchers as optimistic, mixed, or pessimistic using the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, a standardized psychometric test of adult personality measured by points. Findings were surprising that with every 10 point increase in a person’s score on their optimism scale, the risk of early death decreased by 19% (Maruta, 2000).
As a result of our research, as a team we’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude. Gratitude for each other’s contribution to HANAH individually as well as a whole and how our efforts contribute to our mission and the products we create. We’ve dug deep into the study of gratitude, outlining the health benefits, both physical and emotional, and have focused ourselves on being more gracious and thankful every day. We hope this series of articles brings to light the many benefits of being gracious and how doing so impacts your health as well those around you.
Like this post? Share it!