Health (2)

Gratitude is a powerful thing, and we're just scratching the surface when it comes to discovering the various mental and physical effects it has on us. Let's look at a few of those to give you an idea of what you can expect if you start to make feeling gratitude a daily focus.8159027667?profile=RESIZE_400x

The Mental Benefits Of Gratitude

Practicing gratitude helps your overall mental health because you instantly have a better outlook on life. Don't be surprised to walk away from your latest gratitude meditation with a big smile on your face. Of course, the benefits don't stop at increased happiness. Feeling more gratitude has been linked to a better self-image, less anxiety, and even reduced depression. This comes as no surprise to scientists who have recorded increased dopamine levels and serotonin after intentional gratitude meditations. 

The Physical Benefits Of Gratitude  

This is where it gets interesting. It's one thing to feel better emotionally, but the release of these "feel-good" hormones affects your physical body as well. Gratitude reduces stress, and with it, you're sleeping better, your blood pressure lowers, and you have more energy. As a result, you move more, leading to even better overall physical health. Maybe your gratitude exercise motivates you to go out for a walk, getting more oxygen into your body and loading up on Vitamin D. Being able to sleep soundly reduces appetite and less stress helps you make smarter food choices. All these things work hand in hand to turn you into a healthier and more robust version of yourself. 

Gratitude is particularly vital for heart health. Between the lower blood pressure and reduced stress, you are putting less strain on your heart. The added exercise and sleep strengthen your heart muscle and give this essential organ time to recover and heal overnight. With heart disease, one of the leading causes of death in modern society, there's never been a better time to practice gratitude and let go of stress. 

How can you tap into both the mental and physical benefits of gratitude? By feeling more of it. Of course, that's easier said than done. A great place to start is by creating a habit of thinking of at least one person or one thing you are deeply grateful for each morning as soon as you wake up. It sets the tone for the whole day and gets you off to a great start to reap these powerful benefits. Give it a try!

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You heard it when you were a kid. It is nice out, go out and play. Remember laying in the grass? Running barefoot in the grass? Playing hide and seek in the woods? These were not stressful times. Being a kid was only part of the reason for the lack of stress. Nature had its calming effect then, also. You may have been pushed outside at first, but once you were outside you did not want to come back in. Part of the reason is that nature calls us to her. Did you know that there are many mental and emotional health benefits in getting back to nature?7988157692?profile=RESIZE_400x 

  1. You feel less stressed. Spending time outside in green spaces, wherever that happens to be, in your yard, the woods, by a creek, has been shown to lower your blood pressure. Your heartbeat starts to slow down, and your breathing becomes more even and natural. In short, the effects of stress fade away and you start to relax. The good news? The results are not temporary. Studies have shown that spending your weekends outside in a forest helps lower stress levels for up to 7 days following the event.

 

  1. You feel more alert. If you frequently find yourself trapped in brain fog, the quickest way to clear your head might be to step outside. Finding a green space – a short walk in a park or trek out to the country – leaves you feeling alert.

 

  1. You’re better able to cope. When you’re dealing with depression or anxiety, getting outside can seem a little daunting. But if you can give yourself that extra push to get out the door, your mind and body will thank you for it. It’s a proven fact that the effects of both depression and fatigue both dramatically improve when you’re able to spend time in nature.

 

  1. Your focus improves. Feeling overwhelmed at work and unable to think? Try a nature break on the weekend. Remember, spending some significant time enjoying nature over the weekend has a long-lasting impact, as mentioned above. So that long hike on Saturday might be what you need to focus better in the week ahead.

 

  1. You become more creative. Nature inspires you to think out of the box. A rather interesting study that had people spend time outside for four days found that they performed 50% better on creative problem-solving challenges afterward.

With the mental and emotional health benefits of spending time outside so obvious, it’s no wonder our parents wanted us to get outside when we were kids (and you thought they were trying to get rid of you!). With so much good in store for you, isn’t it time you got out of the house?

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