A Thankful Heart is a Healthy Heart: Why Gratitude is Good for Your Health

Nearly 700,000 people died in 2020 from heart disease. However, heart disease isn’t the only heart-related issue you can develop. Staying healthy requires focusing on ways to improve your heart health, but did you know that having a thankful heart can improve your health? You might not know this or understand the correlation, but it’s true. Your heart will be healthier if you practice gratitude. So keep reading this guide to learn more about the correlation and ways to become healthier through a thankful heart.

Benefits of a Thankful Heart

Practicing gratitude is one of the top ways to have a healthy heart. But what does this mean?

It means being grateful and thankful for things. In addition, it means focusing on the good in your life and not the bad. 

When you live intentionally with a thankful heart, it improves your heart health, but how?

According to Dr. Gail Saltz, psychoanalyst and assistant attending physician at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medicine:

“Gratitude improves one’s outlook on life. Appreciating what you have can make you feel more optimistic and satisfied and experience less frustration, envy, and regret. It also tends to result in increased self-esteem and confidence, which also improves mood. There is even evidence to suggest that gratitude helps to diminish the likelihood of developing post-traumatic stress disorder after an upsetting experience.”

– Dr. Gail Satlz
thankful heart

Feeling thankful reduces stress. It decreases your heart rate and blood pressure. Stress is a leading cause of high blood pressure. Therefore, your blood pressure will likely decrease if you eliminate or reduce the burdens you might currently be having. 

Second, feeling thankful tends to motivate people. Consider how motivated you feel to exercise when you feel depressed. You probably don’t feel like exercising or moving around. However, you might feel the drive to exercise when you aren’t depressed or stressed. 

Third, gratitude has been linked to better interpersonal relationships. Harvard Medical School explains that when you recognize and appreciate your loved ones, you view them more favorably and are more likely to open up and be vulnerable with them.

The link between gratitude and mental health is fairly straightforward: the more grateful you are, the more at peace you are with the world around you. Studies have shown that being mindful of the things you are grateful for and expressing that gratitude towards yourself and others has a great return for your mental health and overall well being.

Ways to Practice Gratitude

You can practice gratitude in many ways, but here are some ideas:

  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Think of one thing to be thankful for daily
  • Focus on the good
  • Be optimistic
  • Give to others
  • Thank others whenever possible

Practicing gratitude is an ideal way to improve your heart health, but you can also look for other ways to achieve this goal.

For example, exercising improves a person’s mental health. When you exercise, you might find it easier to think more positively.

Exercising can also help you lose weight, making you feel better about yourself. 

Improving your physical health can encourage you to improve your mental health. Likewise, living with a thankful heart can help you improve your physical health. 

Find Other Ways to Live a Heart-Healthy Life

Living a life of gratitude helps you have a healthier heart and a more satisfying life. You can start by finding ways to have a thankful heart. 

So, what are some ways can you practice gratitude this season? You’ll not only bless others by being thankful but you’ll be investing in a happier, healthier you. Contact Gardendale Primary Care to learn more!