Gratitude is a great way to change your perspective and create a more positive outlook on life. Did you know practicing gratitude is also a great way to boost your heart health? Research has found that being more thankful can help lower blood pressure and improve the function of our immune systems. It can also assist with promoting healthy behaviors like increased physical activity and having a more nutritious diet (American Heart Association). While there are many ways to express your graciousness, you can start with one of the options below. Your heart will be grateful you did!

4 Ways to Practice Gratitude

Say Thank You. Whether someone just held the door open for you or a friend lent a listening ear when you needed it most, express your thanks out loud. Use your words to say thank you. Be quick to tell people you appreciate them and go the extra mile by telling them why you appreciate them. Not only will you make their day a little brighter, but you’ll walk away feeling better too.

Keep a Gratitude Journal. Take pen to paper and write about what makes you feel thankful. Reflecting upon your blessings throughout the day is a great way to change perspective. If you’re having a particularly stressful day, you can go back and read about what made you grateful. Not sure where to start when it comes to journaling? No problem. Try the following prompts as you begin:

  • List Five things you’re thankful for today.
  • What activities did you enjoy today?
  • Check in with your senses. What do you hear, see, feel, smell, and taste?
  • Where did you see kindness expressed today?
  • What encouraged you today?
  • What small or big things made your day easier? For example, a fully charged phone.

Write an Appreciation Note. Personalized notes and mail are always exciting to receive. Share your thankfulness for others by writing them a special message. Allow your written appreciation to come from the heart. Taking the time to write a note of gratitude can change someone’s day while reflecting upon how important they are to you. 

Keep Visual Reminders. As our days get busy and our schedules fill up, we can easily forget our blessings. Keep visual reminders of the things that bring us gratitude so we can acknowledge our thankfulness often. Placing your gratitude journal on your nightstand will make it the first thing you see in the morning or the last before bed. Remind yourself of friends and family you’re thankful for by keeping pictures or mementos nearby. Keep a sticky note by your desk with a quick reminder like, “breathe and count your blessings.” Visual reminders can help pull our busy and anxious minds away from stress and towards gratitude.

Written by BWS Lead Health Coach- Kelly Schlather, BS, ASCM – CEP

Continue reading February 2023 Newsletter: Nutrition and Heart Health