According to a new study being thankful is not good only for other people, but for you too. And besides making you feel good about yourself it has an actual beneficial impact on your hearth, making it healthier. The findings were published in the journal Spirituality in Clinical Practice.
It seems that gratitude not only improves your mood and your sleep quality, but it also reduces inflammation in the case of people who suffer from asymptomatic heart failure. This is not valid only to people with this condiction, but to people in good health too. Being thankful or the good aspects of your life improves both your mental and physical health.
Paul J. Mills, professor of family medicine and public health from the University of California (San Diego) and lead author of the study explained that a more greatful heart is in fact a healthier one too. According to him a good way to support your cardiac health is by journaling gratitude. This also leads to spiritual well-being which generates a better mood and better sleep.
The research was conducted on 186 participants who had been suffering from asymptomatic hearth failure Stage B for at least 3 months. Patients who suffer from this condition have developed structural heart disease, which means that they have experienced a heart attack which damaged their heart, but they have not displayed heart failure symptoms such as fatigue and shortness of breath.
Stage B is essential for stopping disease progression and improving health condition, otherwise patients risk progressing to Stage C, which involves symptomatic heart failure. At this stage the death risk is five times higher.
The subjects were required to write down three things which they were most grateful for over 8 weeks. It seems that those participants who kept a gratitude journal displayed a decrease in circulating levels of several essential inflammatory biomarkers. Moreover while they wrote their heart rate variability increased, which is a mean to reduce cardiac risk.
Mills explained: “We found that more gratitude in these patients was associated with better mood, better sleep, less fatigue and lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers related to cardiac health.”
However the researchers were surprised to find out that thankfulness also accounted for the spiritual well-being. Mills explained that gratitutde is often an aspect of spirituality. Studies have shown that people who perceived themselves as more spiritual tended also to display a general well-being, including the physical one. The research focused not only on the role of gratitude, but also the role of spirityality on the possible health markers in the study participants.
According to Mills spiritual well-being was indeed associated with improved mood and sleep. However the gratitude aspect of spirituality was the cause of the effects and not spirituality itself.
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