Gratitude can help your health, marriage and more

It has been long demonstrated that gratitude can help you be happier, but now there are even more benefits to a thankful lifestyle. Grateful people tend to be healthier, better in relationships, and emotionally tough. University of Utah researchers found that grateful people are more optimistic and optimism boosts immunity. They are also more relaxed as gratitude triggers oxytocin, a bonding hormone. The nervous system relaxes and the individual experiences fewer aches and illnesses.

Having an attitude of gratitude can also help in connecting to others. Grateful people tend to be kind and compassionate folks who habitually help others. They are good in relationships and marriage as they let their partners know that they appreciate them.

Grateful people are less materialistic as they tend to appreciate what they have instead of always wanting more. They exhibit emotional toughness as they are able to find the positives in their lives no matter what is happening with the economy.

So how can you build more gratitude in your life? Focus each day on three to five things for which you are grateful for. Write them down and take a few moments to reflect. For an even stronger dose of health and happiness, express your gratitudes to someone else.

Blair Justice, Ph.D., professor-emeritus of psychology at the UT School of Public Health at Houston recommends asking three questions at the end of each day:

  1. What has surprised me?
  2. What has touched me?
  3. What has inspired me?

As you spend time with friends and family this Thanksgiving, take a few moments to answer these questions and practice gratitude.

Barbara Bartlein is the People Pro. For her FREE e-mail newsletter, please visit: The People Pro.

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