The University of San Diego in California tells us that gratitude can be good for your heart!
For some time studies have looked at Type A behaviour (characterised by hostility, time urgency and competitiveness) and found it to be a negative trait related to stress, depression and anxiety which is associated with ill health and mortality in cardiac patients. But now studies are starting to look at what traits can have a positive impact.
San Diego University found that patients with a naturally grateful disposition slept better, were less tired, less depressed and suffered less inflammation than others. Based on those observations they conducted a new study which examined the impact of keeping a gratitude journal for two months on other patients with heart failure, journaling being seen as a way to cultivate more gratitude in their lives. They found that patients who kept gratitude journals fared better on heart health indicators than other patients who had the normal care and no journaling. The researchers conclude that it is therefore possible that gratitude promotes better cardiovascular health in cardiac disease through the enhancement of different forms of well-being. They say that cultivating gratitude does not mean that you ignore the negative aspects of your life, but it encourages you to more readily acknowledge the good things, and hence improve your well-being and health.
The patients in the study only had to record two or three things that they were grateful for each day, not an onerous task, but clearly one that could have a lot of benefits. Do you pay sufficient attention to things that you are thankful for?
This study was undertaken by The Center of Excellence for Research and Training in Integrative Health at The University of San Diego in California and was reported in the Mind and Body Magazine.