This weeks #HealthyHabits2017 challenge was to reflect on what we are grateful for.
Gratitude is one of those things that has an impact on all elements of your health. People who express their gratitude regularly are likely to have a more positive outlook on life and feeling of greater wellbeing than someone who doesn’t, and they are more likely to be more productive within their environments. Starting with mental health, the positive emotions you experience by considering things you’re grateful for and expressing gratitude for those things translates through, in to positively impacting the physical aspects of your body that stress has taken a toll on.
Physically it can help you sleep if you’re having trouble catching those z’s, researchers have found that if you spend 15mins writing down what you’re grateful for before going to bed, has a great effect on how fast you fall asleep and how long you actually sleep for. It also has a great impact on your immune system as the effects of serotonin inhibit the impact of cortisol.
Appreciation of positive emotions has also been found to change your heart rate and could be helpful in treating the causes of congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease. Pretty cool eh.
HOW DID IT GO?
I always like tasks like this. I think I'm one of those annoying people who is happy most of the time and always tried to look on the bright side of life anyway, so I think I naturally reflect on my positive emotions most of the time but I rarely sit down and think about what I'm grateful for.
It feels nice to think about the things that make you feel good or happy. Relationships are probably top for me, feeling grateful for people in my life and the dynamics I might have with friends and family. Inside jokes, shared pain and stress, advice, ideas, love, happiness. It even made me think of what I could do to be a better friend to others.
It felt nice to appreciate myself as well. All too often when faced with our flaws on the daily and the humdrum of regular life not allowing much thinking space, we can be very harsh on ourselves. It's nice to think about the things that you do that you actually like about yourself for a moment here and there. Recognising when you did a good thing yourself. Appreciation feels good even when it's you allowing yourself to do it for you.
I am grateful for being able to have the things I have, I am grateful for entertainment, creativity, music and culture. I am grateful that I feel freer than I have in years in my personal life. I am grateful to make choices for myself. I am grateful for tasty food even if I'm still figuring it out. I am grateful that I have power within my own existence. I am grateful for my life. There's so much to think about and it does make you feel good. This is such a great task to build in either daily or weekly. Just thinking about the things that made you happy.
Image by David Ryski