November is here and that means Thanksgiving is right around the corner! At the core of this much-loved holiday is the concept of gratitude. For many people, it is only at Thanksgiving dinner when we are asked to share what we are thankful for that we take the time to feel gratitude. Far fewer people reflect on what they are thankful for on a regular basis despite the fact that feeling gratitude on a more frequent basis is beneficial for many different aspects of our health, including our physical, psychological, and social well-being. As a leading therapist in Hermosa Beach, CA, it is my goal to provide you with tips for a happier and healthier life. Please read on for more information on how feeling gratitude about one’s life on a consistent basis can improve your health.
Those who express their gratitude more frequently have been found to exercise more frequently and have better immune system functioning. One of the things that you can be thankful for is your health, and by not taking this for granted, you can better appreciate and understand the importance of exercising and taking good care of yourself.
Additionally, those who express their gratitude and/or keep gratitude journals are more optimistic about life and can thus experience less stress in the face of difficult obstacles. This reduction in stress has a direct positive impact on your physical functioning. In my work in somatic experiencing therapy, the mind and body are very connected. Therefore, when you are stressed psychologically, your body mimics your mind and responds negatively in the forms of aches, pains, and illnesses. A stressed mind can in turn lead to a stressed body and diminished physical functioning.
In addition to improving your physical functioning, reduced stress can also improve your psychological functioning drastically. Simply put, grateful people report lower levels of stress. Even when faced with negative life events, they are not in denial about them, but rather they are aware of these stressors and choose to reappraise their stress.
Some other areas of psychological functioning that gratitude can enhance include:
Being a grateful person also allows you to experience a decrease in envy, resentment, and regret. While these can be seen as psychological benefits, they are also social benefits. Experiencing a reduction in these emotions will allow you to foster more positive relationships and friendships, and let go of toxic ones.
If you are struggling to feel gratitude in your life, you may benefit from counseling. I work with children, teens, young adults, adults, and couples to help them lead more positive lives and stronger relationships. If you are hoping to discover greater meaning in your life and are ready to start therapy at my Hermosa Beach office, please contact me. I hope to hear from you soon!