When it comes to expressing thankfulness for wonderful people and good fortune in your life, are you speaking from the heart? If so, you are taking an important step in supporting your cardiac health.
In a 2015 study referenced by the American Psychological Association and published by the journal Spirituality in Clinical Practice, researchers tested the effects of gratitude on heart health. The study looked at 186 men and women with asymptomatic (stage B) heart failure – a pivotal stage at which patients either begin recovery or experience further decline. Researchers found that patients who reported feelings of gratitude experienced better mood, sleep quality, and self-confidence, as well as lower rates of inflammation.
To further evaluate this link between gratitude and improved health, the researchers asked a portion of the study participants to keep gratitude journals, in which they wrote down three things they were thankful for every day for eight weeks. When compared against the other participants, those who kept journals displayed further decreases in inflammation, as well as reduced cardiac risk.
Ready to start your own gratitude journal? Here are five tips to try:
Remember: February is Heart Health Month – an important time to consider how you can reduce the risk of heart disease. By working with your doctor to set goals for a heart-healthy lifestyle, you are practicing vital self-care during this month of love and appreciation. For more healthy living tips, visit heart.org.