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Gratitude Heart Study: Saying 'Thanks' Can Be Good for You

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By    |   Wednesday, 25 Nov 2015 12:33 PM

Thanksgiving brings thoughts of gratefulness, but a new study found that showing gratitude isn't just about feeling good. It can also have a profound effect on your heart health.

In a study published in the "Spirituality in Clinical Practice" journal earlier this year, researchers found that giving thanks positively affected patients with asymptomatic heart failure, a press release from the American Psychological Association said.

"We found that more gratitude in these patients was associated with better mood, better sleep, less fatigue, and lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers related to cardiac health," lead author Paul J. Mills, PhD and professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California, San Diego, said in the release.

Mills explained gratitude as "part of a wider outlook on life" that focuses on the good things that happen, and it is often associated with spirituality. Researchers were surprised, though, to find that the gratitude aspect, rather than spirituality in general, often accounted for the positive outcomes.

“We found that spiritual well-being was associated with better mood and sleep, but it was the gratitude aspect of spirituality that accounted for those effects, not spirituality per se,” said Mills.

Other studies have also found positive physical effects in patients that focus on what they have to be grateful for. According to a Forbes magazine article, "Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and they report feeling healthier than other people."

Keeping a gratitude journal, where you write down daily things to be grateful for, has become a popular activity in the last few years. One writer at FastCompany did so last month.

"While keeping a gratitude journal seems like a retrospective exercise ('these wonderful things happened today') one of the biggest benefits comes from being prospective ('here are wonderful things I will make happen — and then be grateful for.')," wrote Laura Vanderkam.

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Thanksgiving brings thoughts of gratefulness, but a new study found that showing gratitude isn't just about feeling good. It can also have a profound effect on your heart health.
gratitude, heart, study, health, feel, good
307
2015-33-25
Wednesday, 25 Nov 2015 12:33 PM
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