How Gratitude Can Help Your Blood Sugar, Heart

The holidays are a wonderful time to see friends and family. Reconnecting to people can feel great. It can also be exhausting and, sometimes, infuriating. When you are used to your own space and routine, it can be irritating and stressful to need to swap that for having people in your space and things done differently. Before you lose your temper over someone making the quiche incorrectly, take a breath, and feel grateful for your time together — it can help your health.  
 
While we may think of gratitude as being for Thanksgiving, feeling grateful can help your health regardless of the time of year. Perhaps most interestingly, for people with blood sugar concerns, grateful people have significantly less hemoglobin A1C, which has been linked to a lack of blood sugar control. The hemoglobin has also been linked to cancer, kidney disease and the risk of death.  
 
Researchers have, in different studies, had people keep gratitude journals. They have repeatedly seen that people who feel more gratitude reported better health: fewer aches and pains, breathing problems or skin issues. Additionally, people who feel thankful slept better even when suffering from chronic pain and heart problems. Sleeping well can also help your blood sugar stay stable.
 
Even if you aren’t the sort of person to naturally count your blessings, putting in an effort and keeping a journal about your positive feels can help. Gratitude can also help lower blood pressure. And people who were optimistic and thankful had better blood vessel function after a heart attack. Other studies have linked gratitude to lower inflammations, better metabolism.
 
Gratitude can also help you help yourself. Better sleep, physical health and mood can improve your energy levels. People who frequently felt grateful also took good care of themselves — eating healthy foods, getting exercise and going to the doctor when ill. It’s also been linked to lower depression, with more extended periods of sustained happiness and a lower risk of overeating. These qualities, including increased calm and greater empathy, can really boost your pleasure during the holidays.
 
Psychologist Joree Rose, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, defines gratitude as “a quality of thankfulness.” She said, “It’s something you intentionally choose to focus on and practice, which means you don’t just feel it; you do something about it.” This is good news for those of us to don’t have the natural temperament of feeling thankful all the time. Many of us are not that way inclined, and it’s even more difficult when the grandkids or nieces and nephews are driving you crazy!
 
Feeling gratitude can make you calmer and more relaxed. It can also help you enjoy the company more as it enables you to overcome small irritations. Thanksgiving may be over, but gratitude can be a daily routine that will help you during the holidays and every day.
December 09, 2019
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