People with thumbs upIt turns out that emotions play an important role in physical health, according to a study released early April by the American Psychological Association.

According to their findings, both recognizing and giving thanks for every positive moment and aspect of your life improves the body both mentally and physically, as shown by patients with asymptomatic heart failure.

Typically associated to those with higher levels of spirituality, gratitude can be attributed to any number of things, including pets and a divine deity. Those in the study that acknowledged their blessings slept better, had better moods, were less tired and, more importantly, had lower levels of inflammatory bio-markers.

The study assessed 186 men and women who had been diagnosed with asymptomatic heart failure for no less than three months. This meant that though they had developed heart disease, they did not show heart failure symptoms. Because those at this stage can easily progress to symptomatic heart failure with a death rate five times higher, doctors recognize it as a crucial point to halt the disease entirely, hence the reason why finding any means of halting progression is important.

The study was performed by using psychological tests to grade spiritual well-being and gratitude levels. These were then compared to sleep quality, depressive symptom severity, self-efficacy, fatigue and inflammatory markers. The tests showed gratitude and spirituality supporting better scores all around.

The most surprising bit of evidence, however, was that spirituality was only partially correlated with healthier scores. In the end, it was gratitude that made the real difference.

Researchers studied this phenomenon further by asking some patients to keep a gratitude journal every day of the week for eight weeks. Those that did so showed a decrease in cardiac risk. It would seem that a mind less focused on a stressful situation would cause the body less stress, leading to an overall improvement in health.

Watch a dramatic example of these principles in action right here.

Research source:

More from Beliefnet and our partners
previous posts

Michigan State University decided to tackle an interesting component of growing up. According to our understanding now, self-fulfillment and purpose are extremely important to development and well-being at any age. Of course, the sooner these two values are cemented, the happier the individual is. This MSU study went on to show that children that spend […]

If you’ve struggled with existential issues, then you understand the sense of futility that can come with them. Struggling to find meaning of life is a real struggle for those so inclined. Most people attempt to tackle one big question. What is the meaning of life? This is a very difficult question to answer. Philosophical […]

We all know that certain things like money, toys, and status do not provide deep soul satisfaction. Yet, most of us spend our lives in hot pursuit of these things and rarely pause to reevaluate. Why? And how do we get that deeper soul satisfaction reliably? That’s what this post is all about. We’ll cover […]

A lucid dream is not much different from a regular vivid dream, with one exception. In lucid dreams, the dreamer is fully aware they are sound asleep, having a dream and that none of it is real. Now, there is evidence that lucid dreamers are particularly insightful people. How does a person know they are […]