A lot of people that come in my office with depression, sadness, fear, and anxiety, would be helped by one easy daily exercise. It isn’t running, lifting weights or any other physical activity for that matter. What I am talking about will surprise most of you! It is the daily practice of gratitude in your life. Why is practicing gratitude in your daily life important? It puts you in your present state of mind. When you are in your present state of mind joy and happiness can enter your life rather than depression, sadness, fear or anxiety. Those negative emotional states can lead to physical illnesses and can become life threatening. They can never be present when you are thinking about the present. Happiness comes from the root word happening. In other words when your mind is focused on the present it is the only way you can become truly happy.
In 2005 a study conducted by Andrew Steptow and Michael Marmot at University College London, found that happiness is related to biological markers that play an important role in health. The researchers aimed to analyze whether there was any association between well-being and two biological markers: heart rate and cortisol levels (stress hormone). Interestingly, the participants who rated themselves the least happy had cortisol levels that were 48% higher than those who rated themselves as the most happy. Repeating their studies three years later Steptow and Marmot found that participants who scored high in positive emotion continued to have lower levels of cortisol as well as a lower heart rate. In Happy People Live Longer, Bruno Frey reported that happy people live 14% longer, increasing longevity 7.5 to 10 years and Richard Davidson’s bestseller The Emotional Life of Your Brain argues that positive emotion and happiness benefit long-term health.
When you practice gratitude you will find out that there are a lot of things you have to be grateful for in your life. The other thing that starts to happen is the negative emotions will slowly go away because by using gratitude the lack attitude turns into the more than enough attitude. Remember to have an attitude of gratitude every day and for the rest of your life.