Dustin Rudolph, PharmD

Dustin Rudolph, PharmD

Posted November 24, 2010

Published in Health

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Being Thankful Leads to Being Healthy

Read More: appreciation, gratitude, happiness, love, thankful, Thanksgiving

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The holiday season is once again upon us as we go about hustling and bustling to get everything done on our endless to do list.  But there's one thing that many of us forget to put on that list in the midst of all the chaos and that is... being thankful.  It's so easy to get distracted by grocery lists, cleaning, cooking, trips to the mall, standing in long lines, special holiday events, and much more.  And if you're anything like me then I'm sure you find yourself a bit annoyed at times with some of this.

But being gracious is really the key to a successful holiday season and it's so easy to do especially with so many family members and friends around during our time of celebration.  After all Thanksgiving is a holiday all about giving thanks.  Having a sense of gratitude can be uplifting and serves to fill the room with loving smiles and high spirits.  It also has some wonderful health benefits.  Here's a list of a few things to be thankful for about being thankful:

-   Stronger immune system boosted by lower levels of inflammatory markers in the body [1]

-   Heightened state of well-being with positive emotional and interpersonal benefits [2]

-   Increases your overall happiness, enables you to cope better with stress, and leads to a longer life [3]

-   Improves your ability to develop and maintain healthy relationships [4]

-   Leads to higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness, and energy [5]

-   Better sleep quality and longer duration of sleep [5]

-   Individuals who kept a gratitude journal on a regular basis were found to exercise more, have fewer physical health symptoms, and were more optimistic about themselves and their overall life [5]

-   Reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease [6] and depression [7]

As you can see it pays to be thankful.  All too often in life many of us tend to brush aside the positive encounters we come across and focus on the one or two negative events that occur.  I'm just as guilty as the next person in regards to this.  We really do tend to make a big deal out of nothing when you think about it.  Doesn't it seem easier to come home from work and tell your significant other about the one thing that succeeded in dampening your day instead of the ten things that made it easier?  Or how about complaining because your least favorite relative will be attending Thanksgiving this year instead of being grateful for the 15 other relatives that you adore?

We all can fall into the trap of negativity.  But do yourself a favor this holiday season and make an effort to consciously think about one thing that you are thankful for about each person, each event, and each day.  And then instead of stopping there verbalize these debts of gratitude with those around you and take notice on how comforting these simple words of appreciation can be not only for you but also for them.  You just might add a little bit of bliss to their life and yours as well.

May you all have a blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving!  And don't forget to love, laugh, live, and cherish the memories of 2010.

Warm regards,
Dustin Rudolph Pharm.D.

Brydon L, Walker C, Wawrzyniak AJ, Steptoe A. Dispositional optimism and stress-induced changes in immunity and negative mood. Brain Behav Immun.2009;23(6):810-816.
Emmons RA, McCullough ME. Counting blessings versus burdens: an experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. J Pers Soc Psychol2003;84:377-389.
Kurtz JL, Lyubomirsky S. Towards a durable happiness. In: Lopez SJ, Rettew JG, eds. The Positive Psychology Perspective Series. Vol 4. West-port, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group; 2008:21-36.
Algoe SB, Haidt J, Gable SL. Beyond reciprocity: gratitude and relationships in everyday life. Emotion2008;8(3):425-429.
Emmons RA, McCullough ME. Highlights from the Research Project on Gratitude and Thankfulness, 2009.  Accessed November 23, 2010.
Giltay EJ, Kamphuis MH, Kalmijn S, Zitman FG, Kromhout D. Dispositional optimism and the risk of cardiovascular death: the Zutphen Elderly Study. Arch Intern Med2006;166:431-436.
Giltay EJ, Zitman FG, Kromhout D. Dispositional optimism and the risk of depressive symptoms during 15 years of follow-up: the Zutphen Elderly Study. J Affect Disord2006;91:45-52.