How do you become more grateful? How will it make you happier and healthier?

Editor’s note: David J. Allan is the managing editor of CNN Travel, Style, Science and Wellness. This article is part of a project called “The Wisdom Project”.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) – If you really think about it, many of us should be in a state of eternal gratitude.

And if you ask yourself which of these things do you own now? family, friends, love affair, health, freedom from war and natural disasters, fantasy, community, a roof over your head, hope, opportunity, memories, financial stability, favorite places, days off from work, good weather, books, music, weekend Week, sociable talks, nice cup of coffee.

You may not have everything you want (or even need) on your list, but what you do can still fill your life with material and conceptual items for which you should be grateful.

And things can get better, but it can also get worse, and it often depends on how you look at the proverbial glass of water.

Getting a better association with gratitude – and the health benefits of doing so – is the trick to finding easy ways to count the blessings in your life regularly. Put your gratitude first, and it will increase your overall appreciation for life.

Try to be more grateful for the small, everyday things that give you joy and meaning in your life, as well as the big things.

There is a benefit to acknowledging a small handful of these blessings each day, and there are ways to build up this habit.

grateful = healthy

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of gratitude is that it is now associated with heightened feelings of happiness – for both givers and recipients.

On this week’s episode of the CNN Chasing Life podcast, host Dr. Sanjay Gupta interviewed Christina Costa, an instructor and PhD student at the University of Michigan who studied neuroscience and psychology.

Costa explains how you can literally see gratitude during brain scans, as this feeling relieves the “feel good” neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which Gupta noted also reduces stress-related hormones such as cortisol.

“The neurotransmission responses are very immediate,” Costa said. “It’s hard to feel bad when you focus on someone you’re so grateful for, or an event that changed your life.”

Endurance, including the ability to deal with stress and trauma, has also been linked to gratitude.

Studies have shown that counting blessings has been a factor in the management of PTSD for Vietnam War veterans.

Other research shows that the more grateful you are, the more likely you are to show patience and self-control.

Gratitude can also be beneficial for couples and relationships, and couples who show gratitude tend to “be more committed and more likely to stay in their relationships over time.”

Studies have shown that gratitude can also indirectly affect physical health. “Gratitude strengthens your immune system and helps you feel less pain,” Costa said.

Those with “behavioral gratitude” – defined in one study as “part of a broader life tendency to see and appreciate positivity in the world” – are more likely to report good physical health, have a propensity for healthy activities, and a willingness to seek help with concerns, health.

In another study, New York teens who were considered the most grateful in their class – through “actions and moods that enable them to respond positively to good people and events in their lives” – were less likely to take drugs and alcohol abuse.

The benefits of more gratitude have also been linked to heart health benefits among patients who have experienced heart failure.

Being grateful can give you a better night’s sleep, according to one study of college students who developed different methods to increase gratitude, such as a gratitude concept, as their anxiety decreased during bedtime and they were able to sleep longer and better.

In another study, adults in the UK (40% of whom struggled to sleep) reported that thinking about what they were grateful for at night led them to fall asleep faster and fall asleep longer. affected.

But reliable research shows that everything you do to increase gratitude bears fruit, so it’s worthwhile to find what’s easy, fun, and effective for you.

For example, a gratitude journal should be no more complicated than keeping a diary by your bed and starting a nocturnal habit of writing down who and what you were grateful for that day. Journaling has been the standard method for some of the above studies, so it is a simple but effective option.

There’s the idea of ​​a pot of happiness, a strategy introduced by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, and the idea is to write on a piece of paper the happiest moment of the day and it put in the pot, and the advantage of doing it this way is that in moments of unhappiness you can reach the vessel to remember those moments, and perhaps become grateful for it all over again.

There are other ways to try. You can set alarms on your phone to stop and think of something you are thankful for at different times of the day.

Or you can just focus on the simple act of saying thank you repeatedly sincerely.

Writing thank-you letters to those for whom you are grateful is something worth doing regularly.

You can also express your gratitude through gifts and flowers, or simply make a list of all the things we take for granted in our lives but would not be happy without, such as job security, health, seeing loved ones, and reviewing that list. every week or so.

No matter how you begin to inculcate more moments of gratitude in your life, in the short and long term, you will be grateful that you did.

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