Live Well Polk

This is the week when families and friends all around the country gather and reflect on things to be thankful for. One of those things should be the health benefits of being grateful!

The benefits of exercise and nutrition are a given, but many studies have shown that there are also big benefits from a bit of reflection about what we’re thankful for.

Forget the sheep, count your blessings

Sleep is one of the most important elements of a healthy lifestyle, yet it sometimes seems that it’s bedtime when those everyday stressors run through our heads and keep us from dozing off. A good way to fend off those nighttime worries is to think of all the reasons we have to be grateful. Some studies have even found that 15 minutes spent writing in a gratitude journal just before bedtime can lead to a longer and more refreshing night of rest.

Be thankful for one another

Whether it’s your spouse, you friends or your co-workers, showing gratitude toward one another will help you feel more connected and build greater satisfaction in your relationship.

Be grateful that you feel better

Studies have also shown that grateful people suffer fewer aches and pains and generally say they feel healthier than other people. On top of that, grateful people are more likely to exercise more and see their doctor.

Here are some things you can do to grow gratitude in your own life:

Start that journal

A gratitude journal doesn’t have to be grandiose. Start small by jotting down two or three things each day that you’re thankful for. Maybe it’s as simple as getting out of work on time or having a roof over your head. The more you do it, the easier it will become. You may find that you have a page full of gratitude in no time at all.

Tell others that you’re thankful for them

We often forget to tell those closest to us what they mean to us. Call your folks. Hug your kids. Send a text to your best friend. Whoever it is, don’t neglect to share the love.

Don’t join in the negativity

It seems like every third post on social media is someone upset about something. That type of negativity can take a toll on your mental, emotional and physical health. Don’t give in to the pressure of joining in. Instead, take the opportunity to post something you appreciate. You’ll be surprised how quickly your outlook changes.

Be thankful for yourself

If you’re like most of us, your day is full, from the time you wake up until you finally put your head on the pillow. Chances are, you spend a lot of that time doing things for others.

You take care of your family, look after your pets, work hard all day long and may still take time to volunteer at your church, school or in the community. Take a minute sometime during the day to be grateful that you have the ability to do those things and a loving heart that leads you there.

Finally, remember that it’s OK to be thankful more than just that one Thursday in November. As a matter of fact, it’s recommended. We think you’ll find even more to be thankful for than when you started.

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