Being thankful can help people relieve stress, depression and even addictions. According to TIME, gratitude—recognizing that happy outcomes depend, in part on the efforts of others or (for some) a higher power—is strongly liked to mental and physical health.
One recent study of 1,000 people found that gratitude led to better psychological health, which led to physical health. Grateful people were more likely to engage in healthy activities and seek medical help when needed. Gratitude may make people healthier because it leads to better sleep. Thinking about your blessings before drifting off can help dispel the anxious thoughts that lead to restless sleep, a factor linked to physical and mental health.
Gratitude also impacts addiction. In a 2003 study involving 2600 adults, those who were most spiritually thankful had better mental health, including a reduced susceptibility to addiction to alcohol, nicotine and illegal substances. Many addiction programs have already realized this in practice and often include a gratitude-building component, like making “gratitude lists” or keeping a diary of things you’re thankful for.
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