NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, November 25, 2015, 2:07 PM
Being consistently grateful can help a person become a happier and healthier, and improve his or her overall quality of life.
Giving thanks should be more than a holiday tradition, researchers say — it should be a daily routine.
Studies show that learning to be consistently grateful can help a person become a happier and healthier, and improve his or her overall quality of life.
“The art of practicing gratitude is not about ignoring the fact that life can be difficult,” Debbi Carberry, a clinical social worker, told the Daily News.
“It is about making space for blessings. Grateful people take time every day to think carefully about what they can be grateful for.”
Experts believe that it takes dedication to find the silver linings of any situation.
Finding the time needed for an inner self examination every day are worth psychological, physical and social benefits, Carberry said.
Studies have shown that giving thanks on a regular basis can help reduce your blood pressure, decrease your anxiety and depression, help you sleep better, form better bonds with others, and even strengthen your immune system.
This is because expressing gratitude stimulates the hypothalamus, the small portion of the brain responsible for moderating sleep, regulating stress levels and your metabolic rate.
It also prompts the brain to produce higher levels of dopamine — a natural chemical that causes the body to feel good.
“Gratitude is one of the fastest paths to happiness,” said Lisa Reinhardt, who created a chocolate called Wei Gratitude to help people focus on the present moment.
“In our busy world, (gratitude) slows us down and takes us out of our own heads to reflect on the kindness of others, which naturally brings a smile to our faces and softness to our hearts,” she said.
Practicing gratitude can even help you feel connected to others
A new study conducted by Pew Research showed that nearly 80% of Americans feel a strong sense of gratitude on a weekly basis.
Practicing gratitude can even help you feel connected to others and reduce aggression, as well as build resilience through difficult times, said Ruth Spalding, a clinical social therapist, who has a blog with tips about gratitude.
“There are truly terrible experiences in life,” Spalding said.
“On days when it really is that bad, it seems laughable to bring up the idea of gratitude. But if someone has the habit of valuing gratitude regularly and says: ‘Okay, today is awful, is there anything to be grateful for that happened today?’
“If the answer is ‘Nope, put today in the lose column,’ your brain still benefits from that habit of seeking out the good stuff.”.