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“Natural forces within
us are the true
healers of disease.”
Hippocrate s, a ncient Greek physician,
ca. 4th century B.C .
Gratitude means thankfulness,
noticing simple pleasures, and
ac knowledging everything that
you receive. It means lea rning to live your
life as if everything were a miracle, a nd
being aware on a continuous ba sis of how
much you’ve be en given.
e xperience of life and implies a sense of
present moment accepta nc e of condition s
and circumstances as they are. When we
s ee the world with gratitude, we de velop
a sense of awe about life and its blessings:
hassles le ssen and stress is reduc ed. even
more importantly, re search shows gratitude
improves health and wellbeing.
There is no doubt that gratitude is a key
element in building good health and can
enhance our psychological and physiologic al
. By being grateful you improve
your health and wellbeing. Gratitude has
strong links with mental health; numerous
st udies suggest that grateful people are more
likely to have higher levels of happiness and
lower levels of stress and depression4 and to be
healthier. Being grateful is also associated with
improved immune system function, fewer
aches and pains, and lower blood pressure.
Gratitude predicted greater subjective sleep
qualit y and sleep duration, and less sleep
latency and daytime dysfunction5.
When you ma ke a conscious effort
to move toward the gratitude end of the
spectrum, you’l l notice that you feel better.
Resea rch shows that level s of serotonin
(known as the “ feel good” chemical in the
brain) increa se and your immune system
is stimulated when you carry out an act of
kindness or giving. you get the same effects
if you observe an act of kindness or giving.
That is why people who give get pleasure or,
a s the Bible says, “Give, and it will be given
to you.” The opposite is also true ; greed
and continually taking leads to increased
dissatisfaction, disharmony and poor health.
Physiologic ally, greed lowers serotonin a nd
c ompromises your immune system.
Quantum physic s a nd biolog y have
shown us that neural networks in our brain
a re able to rea rrange thems elves a cc ording
to the emotions we feel and the experienc e s
we have on a daily basis. When we focus on
gratitude, our neural net works will adapt
to actually provide more of the positive
chemicals that can help increase the positive
emotion s brought about by gratitude.
American researcher Dr Candice Pert found
that what we think creates the biochemical
basis for how we feel – she uses the term
“the molecule s of emotion” to de scribe this.
Litera lly, focusing on positive thoughts
create s positive molec ules of emotion in our
brain – no drugs required.
Other research has also shown that
gratitude and kindness increa se your
wellbeing a nd life expectancy. Altruism
reduces our focus on ourselves and appears
to ser ve a s a distraction from worries,
wherea s preoccupation with our s elves leads
© noVa april 2013
‘Research shows gratitude
improves health and
‘Physiologically, greed lowers
serotonin and compromises
your immune system.’
Continued Page 25
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Being thankful imparts many important health benefits, including
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