Too blessed to be stressed

The wellness elixir you've been overlooking - How gratitude nurtures your body and supercharges your physical health

by Laura Chapman, August 2023

In the hustle and bustle of modern life, it’s easy to get caught up in the endless cycle of chasing goals, comparing ourselves to others, and dwelling on what we lack. But what if there was a simple yet potent tool that could transform our outlook and enhance our physical health and overall well being?

Enter gratitude – a magical elixir that has been scientifically proven to bring about positive changes in our minds and bodies.

Let’s dive into the world of gratitude and discover how this age-old practice can be your secret weapon for a healthier and happier life.

What is Gratitude?

At its core, gratitude is more than just saying “thank you” or jotting down a list of things you’re grateful for. It’s a mindset, an attitude of appreciation for the people, experiences, and blessings that enrich our lives.

Gratitude involves recognising the good even amidst challenges, and it shifts our focus from what’s lacking to what’s abundant.

The Gratitude-Health Connection

It turns out that gratitude isn’t just warm and fuzzy – it has a real impact on our physical health and overall well being. Here’s how:

1. Improved Mental Well Being

Gratitude acts as a powerful antidote to stress, anxiety, and depression. When we practice gratitude, our brains release chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, which are associated with feelings of happiness and contentment. By cultivating a grateful mindset, we can create a natural buffer against the pressures of daily life.

2. Pain Management

Gratitude decreases sensitivity to pain while improving pain tolerance. People who are more grateful in their lives feel pain in fewer places, with a much lower intensity.

3. Better Sleep and Increased Energy

Up to 72% of individuals with chronic pain suffer from sleep disorders and clinical insomnia. People with high levels of gratitude report better sleep, which leads to an overall decrease in depression and anxiety, as well as a marked improvement in pain.

4. Greater Heart Health

Studies have shown that gratitude is linked to improved heart health. Grateful individuals tend to have lower blood pressure, healthier heart rhythms, and a reduced risk of heart disease.

5. Healthier Relationships

Practicing gratitude leads to being more helpful, generous, compassionate and forgiving. Research indicates that a gratuitous outlook is also associated with increased self-esteem. This often has a positive impact on our social relationships, leading to people feeling less lonely and isolated.

6. Increased Resilience

When used alongside empathy and mindfulness, the art of gratitude leads towards a more resilient being, as detailed by Hugh van Cuylenburg’s The Resilience project, resilience helps us withstand or recover quickly from challenges, which reduces our likelihood of developing chronic pain.

How to cultivate gratitude

Incorporating gratitude into your life doesn’t require a major overhaul. Here are some simple yet effective ways to infuse gratitude into your daily routine:

1. Write a gratitude journal: start with three things you’re grateful for each day. Whether it’s a breathtaking sunrise, your brilliant osteopath, or the perfect cup of coffee, capturing these moments on paper can have profound impact on your well being.

2. Limit social media use: Comparison is the thief of joy. If you need a fix, may we recommend the AO instagram page for some wholesome, feel-good content.

3. Practice mindfulness: Take a few moments to savor the sights, sounds, and sensations around you, and express your appreciation for the present moment.

4. Express thanks: Don’t underestimate the power of a heartfelt “thank you.” Express gratitude to others – whether through a note, a text, or a genuine smile – and watch how your relationships flourish.

5. Go for a gratitude walk: Take a leisurely stroll outdoors and focus your attention on the beauty of nature.

Gratitude is a true game-changer, offering a treasure trove of benefits for both your mind and body. By embracing this simple practice, you can elevate your mood, boost your physical health, and cultivate a sense of wellbeing that radiates from within.

So, why wait? Start your gratitude journey today and unlock the incredible power of appreciation. Your mind, body, and soul will thank you!

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