A Magnificent Synergy – Happiness, Health & Gratitude

Photo: gratefully used, courtesy of Ana Tavares on Unsplash.


by Connie Hernandez, ND

In recent years it’s become common knowledge that meditation can help us heal ourselves.

Major hospitals and clinics, from Kaiser to our local Palo Alto Medical Foundation, offer classes in Mindfulness Meditation for patients with anxiety, hypertension, and all manner of ills.

Here at Pacific Naturopathic, our patients often volunteer that they feel they’d do much better if they could learn to meditate – or be more consistent with a meditation practice they’ve learned.

Another powerful healing practice that’s received scientific validation is gratitude.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the very real healing effects of gratitude on our bodies, minds, and inner life.

  • Researchers have seen deep, lasting results from a regular practice of listing 10 things for which we’re grateful each night.
  • Equally impressive are the positive results of expressing gratitude to someone with whom you may be having difficulty.
  • A study in 2003, “Counting Blessings Versus Burdens,” found that people who keep a gratitude journal report:
    • 16% fewer bodily symptoms, 19% more time spent exercising
    • 10% less physical pain
    • 25% increase in sleep quality.

If these results could be achieved by simply taking a pill, it would surely induce drug company executives to dream of dollar signs followed by a few digits and lots and lots of zeros!

  • A 2005 study, “Positive Psychology Progress,” found that keeping a gratitude journal decreased depressive symptoms by as much as 30%.
  • A 2007 study noted that hypertensive patients who counted their blessings just once a week experienced a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure. And multiple studies have correlated gratitude with vitality and energy.
  • The effects are lasting. A study found an increase in activity in the brain’s prefrontal cortex for as long as three months after an exercise of writing just one gratitude letter a week.

The prefrontal cortex is the brain area where upbeat attitudes. optimism, concentration, and the ability to form and achieve long-term goals are localized.

The diagram below is from https://www.happierhuman.com/benefits-of-gratitude.

I wish you many opportunities to express your gratitude not only to friends and family, but to casual acquaintances and strangers. You’ll feel better for it!

To learn about Dr. Connie’s work, follow the link to her Naturopathic Health Consultations website.