Gratitude, Health & Happiness - The Power of Gratitude
Gratitude makes you happy – this hypothesis has been well documented by studies. New scientific findings go even further: gratitude can also have a positive effect on your health.
Gratitude is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful and uplifting Human emotions. It brings People together, welds them together, and even heals long-torn rifts. However, gratitude is not just a short-term balm for the soul. According to studies, it can even have long-term effects on our well-being. But there’s more to it than that: it has even been proven through research that gratitude has a positive influence on our physical well-being. Gratitude is therefore highly relevant in the field of alternative medicine, especially at a time when more and more People are seeking complementary paths in addition to conventional medicine.
What effects can gratitude have on our souls and bodies, and where does science stand on the subject? How can we also integrate gratitude into our daily lives to get the most out of our own health?
Gratitude as the key to happiness?
The fact that grateful People are often happier was recognized a very long time ago, as the English natural philosopher Francis Bacon coined in a phrase: "It is not the happy ones who are grateful. It is the grateful ones who are happy."
An article from Harvard Medical School indicates that it is actually gratitude which can bring happiness (https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier). The institute refers to several studies in which subjects who completed gratitude-related tasks reported significantly higher satisfaction with their lives at the end of the experiment.
For Farid Zitoun, institute director and lifestyle blogger at Naturheilzentrum Bottrop (‘NABO’ for short), this is not new. He sees this as confirmation and thus an important impetus for bringing the topic of gratitude into greater focus in everyday life: "Gratitude and well-being are closely linked. Not only can this be observed anecdotally in everyday life, but it is even scientifically verifiable. I therefore think it would provide absolute enrichment for everyone if we could think more about gratitude and ideally promote it within ourselves." says the Bottrop-based naturopath.
The power of gratitude on the body – good for the heart, sleep and pain?
A major report by Berkeley University even more clearly reveals the additional effects of gratitude in relation to physical health (https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/is_gratitude_good_for_your_health). Among other things, gratitude has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system, the experience of pain, and sleep. For Farid Zitoun, this is just more - albeit very considerable - proof of the value of gratitude:
"In recent years, studies have very clearly shown how gratitude can directly affect the body. What is fascinating is how varied the effects are and that they can also often be measured objectively. In one study, for example, the grateful subjects had fewer biomarkers for systemic inflammation in the blood. In another, the blood value for a marker associated with an increased risk of heart attack decreased."
The effects of gratitude are even apparent in magnetic resonance tomographs and can therefore even be perceived with the naked eye. At least, that's what an Indiana University study suggests, supporting this impression even further (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26746580).
Gratitude & health – actively experiencing gratitude
According to Zitoun, everyone can benefit from the positive effects of gratitude in his or her everyday life: "If the predictions about the effects of gratitude are true, everyone can take advantage of them. Those who actively exercise gratitude, will practice mindfulness, will always be aware of what they can be grateful for, may become happier, and may even hope for better health. Incidentally, my colleague Christian Rüger recently wrote an interesting blog post about mindfulness."
Gratitude is also the topic of the new video on the Naturheilzentrum Bottrop YouTube channel. In it, on the occasion of his birthday, Farid Zitoun talks about expressing gratitude in everyday life. Just being aware of your own gratitude for the People around you can help a lot on the path to a more grateful and perhaps healthier life.
Concrete tips on learning to be grateful can be found on the NABO Tumblr blog. Guest author, Sonja Ruster writes in the blog on the Naturheilzentrum Bottrop website about the gestures of gratitude that everyone can also use in everyday life.