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I would like to share with you my very first blog post as an Huffington Post Contributor. This was definitely a milestone for me and I am proud of it. I invite you to read and digest some ways on which expressing gratitude can increase positive emotion in your life.
8 Ways Gratitude Can Improve Your Health
There are many ways in which we express gratitude in our day to day lives: saying a simple ‘thank you’; dropping thank-you notes or handwritten cards to friends, colleagues, or even your boss; thinking about great moments in life; keeping a gratitude journal; praying (if you are religious); and counting your blessings.
Being grateful could also mean appreciating what you receive, whether it is tangible or otherwise. To be truly thankful, one must acknowledge what is good in their life. From these meanings, we can see that what we should be grateful for – the source of goodness in one’s life – lies outside the self. Ultimately, thankfulness can connect you to other people or a higher power and lead to a better life.
Psychological research shows that being grateful makes you happier. You experience more positive emotions, handle adversity more effectively, build stronger relationships, relive positive life experiences, and it can even improve your overall health.
What positive effects can gratitude have on your health?
Both being grateful and showing gratitude can greatly benefit your health due to the long-term power of positive emotion. Some of these positive effects are outlined below.
#1 – Physical health
Grateful individuals typically take better care of themselves, including exercising, eating healthy, and attending regular medical check-ups, which all contribute to a generally healthier lifestyle and individual. If you are more grateful, you will also feel healthier with less aches and pains.
#2 – Psychological health
Expressing gratitude reduces toxic emotions, like envy, resentment, regret, and frustration. You are also less likely to feel negative emotions after an expression of gratitude. This improves your general well-being.
#3 – Better sleep
If you want a better night of sleep, you should keep a gratitude journal. Studies have shown that individuals that write about what they are grateful for during the day for 15 minutes in the evening tend to worry less at night and sleep both sounder and longer. Simply enough, thinking positively before going to bed is likely to make you sleep more peacefully.
#4 – Increased mental strength
One of the most effective ways to both combat and reduce trauma is by being grateful. A study of Vietnam War veterans showed that those that were more grateful experienced a greater level of daily well-being, which may lessen the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder. Being grateful also makes people more resilient. In a survey tracking personal strength, a surge of gratitude was detected after the events of September 11, 2001, which led to community building, an increased sense of belonging, and the ability to better buffer negative stress in the future.
#5 – A healthy heart
A study has shown that experiencing positive emotions, including being grateful, changes heart rate variability. This could help in the treatment of hypertension and reduce risk in patients with congestive heart failure and/or coronary artery disease.
#6 – Better immunity
Being grateful is directly related to being optimistic. A study conducted by the University of Utah, as cited on WebMD, revealed that first-year law students who were stressed yet optimistic had more immune-boosting blood cells in their body. The less grateful students had weaker immunities.
#7 – Decreases stress
It is no surprise that stress can make you sick, especially if you are unable to cope with it. Stress can be linked to both cancer and heart disease. In fact, it could cause up to 90% of your visits to the doctor. However, you can cope with stress and other daily challenges by being grateful and expressing gratitude in your life.
#8 – Better outcomes in compromised health
Again, gratitude is associated with optimism. Due to this, individuals living with AIDS or those that are about to undergo surgery had better health outcomes when they expressed positivity and gratitude towards themselves and others.
So with these benefits in mind, you must be wondering, “How can I be more grateful?” Well, it is simply a state of mind, which is luckily very changeable. You can focus on the benefits you have received outside of yourself and be mindful of what you have, while also thinking positively about your opportunities in life. In this way, you can lead an optimistic life of gratitude.
After receiving the official email from my SCORE mentor saying “Your Client Is A Champion,” I wanted to scream; I was so excited, honored, and ready to take on the title. Yes, I hold the title of the 2016 American Small Business Champion. The time had come for me to fly to Washington, DC and receive my official crown (and yes, all champions should wear a crown!). The anticipation had been building, and soon the moment that I had been waiting for would be here.
I approached the day of the training with an open mind, certain I would learn a lot and leave with invaluable insight. It was quite an honor and pleasure to receive expert knowledge from SCORE President David Bobbitt and Chief Optimizer Giselle Chapman. It was an amazing experience in itself to be among so many like-minded business owners that also shared a passion for entrepreneurship.
I hope my takeaways can bring value and give you something to think about the next time.
1 – REST TO BE YOUR BEST – Your presenters are experts. They want to share tips with you that can take your business to the next level, so soak it up! Take advantage of this opportunity. You do not get the chance to hear from the SCORE president, sharing his keys to success, just any day. Consider this a once in a lifetime opportunity, so be awake and ready to go.
2 – BE PRESENT, IT’S YOUR MOMENT – Put away everything that could be a distraction to you. Put your phone on vibrate. Let your family members know you are attending this event, and they should not call unless there is an emergency. Take a notebook to jot down key points instead of a laptop. Laptops can take up too much space at the table, and you want to be considerate of others around you. Try to avoid side conversations. Although very tempting, they can take you out of the moment when the presenter is speaking. You may miss the very answer to your question that could make a huge difference in your business.
3 – ENGAGE WITH THE SPEAKER – This is your moment to ask those burning questions you have. Seek clarification; the last thing you want to do is walk away wishing you had asked. If you are not comfortable asking questions in front of a large crowd, find someone at your table to ask the question for you.
4 – BREAK TO MEET NEW PEOPLE – If you haven’t had the time to introduce yourself to other champions, take break time to do so. Work the room! If you are an introvert, use this time to try something new and step out of your comfort zone. If you’re an extrovert, you already know what to do. You never know, making a new friend and gaining a connection could be a lifesaver down the road. It’s all about building relationships.
5 – SEND A NOTE OF GRATITUDE – There is guaranteed value in attending the training (trust me, I know), but now is the time to let your speaker know. Write a meaningful note, taking the time to reflect on what was presented and what you learned from your speaker. This act alone will make you look like a rockstar!
Hopefully what I learned from my experience at the Regional Training and Networking Symposium left you with something to consider during your next business training and networking opportunities. Ultimately, being well-rested and prepared, mentally present, engaging, social, and thankful for your experience will help you get the most out of your training, both during the event and after.