We work a lot on your physical health here at Desert Valley Chiropractic with chiropractic adjustments for your joints to improve their function and reduce the inflammation and toxins surrounding them. What if an improvement in our outlook, the way we see our lives and ourselves, our overall attitude and perspective on life could also improve our physical health? Read on……..
A daily practice of gratitude can increase your happiness and improve your health. Learning to biohack your neurotransmitters and emotional wellbeing is yet another way to improve your overall health, wellness and possibly your longevity. Making this months timely biohack, gratitude! Expressing gratitude is associated with a host of mental and physical benefits. Studies have shown that feeling thankful can improve sleep, mood, and immunity. Gratitude can also decrease depression, anxiety, difficulties with chronic pain and risk of disease. Beginning a practice of gratitude along with your chiropractic care may just help those results come along faster! Choosing to change where you focus your mind can have a big impact even when you cannot change your circumstances. Gratitude effects hormones and neurotransmitters like cortisol, oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin. This has positive effects on your physical and mental health.
Choosing to count your blessings and making the time to be grateful for the good things in your life can have a far reaching positive effect. Gratitude is being aware of and thankful for the good things you have relationships, current situations, the ability to work on your health and many other circumstances can all be an opportunity to reflect on gratitude. Remember things to not have to be prefect or even great to be grateful. Being thankful for where you are and what you have can have many positive health effects. Studies show practicing gratitude can lead to more intimate and connected relationships, less depression, more motivation and engagement, and better overall mental well-being.
Gratitude increases happiness, gratitude helps people to feel happier and experience positive emotions. In short, gratitude can boost the neurotransmitter serotonin and activate the brain stem to produce dopamine.” Dopamine is our brain’s pleasure chemical. The more we think positive, grateful thoughts, the healthier and happier we feel. When you focus on things that make you feel grateful you will find that positivity follows.
Gratitude is good for your emotional wellbeing. It can give you emotional health and resilience when you’re confronted with stress, loss, grief, or trauma. Gratitude lowers the stress hormone cortisol which helps you to better manage your response to stress. In a study on gratitude and appreciation, participants who felt grateful showed a reduction in the level of cortisol, the stress hormone. They had stronger cardiac functioning and were more resilient to emotional setbacks and negative experiences.
Gratitude improves physical health, people who are grateful tend to sleep better and have fewer aches and pains. Increased feelings of gratitude may help to improve immune function and reduce inflammation. Researchers have shown that when we practice appreciation, our bodies release t oxytocin hormone, which expands blood vessels, reduces blood pressure, and protects your heart. Oxytocin deepens our relationships and helps us feel more connected to others
Improved relationships, people who are focused on gratitude are often inspired to give back and support their communities. This tends to build relationships and community. A report in the Harvard Mental Health Letter states: ‘A study of couples found that individuals who took time to express gratitude for their partner not only felt more positive toward the other person but also felt more comfortable expressing concerns about their relationship.’
Research also shows that generosity and gratitude work hand in hand with benefits for the giver and one receiving! It seems that expressing gratitude is linked to the release of oxytocin, sometimes called the ‘love hormone’, which is perhaps why a study has shown that participants giving and receiving thanks felt more loving and caring towards their partner.
How to implement the practice of gratitude
Gratitude can be felt and acknowledged in several ways, you can be grateful for the past, past memories and experiences. You can express gratitude for your current circumstances and the positive aspects of your life, you can look toward the future with optimism and the expectation of positive things to come!
Mindfulness and gratitude are connected. Mindfulness is the practice of intentionally focusing your attention on something. Even just a few minutes of meditation or prayer focusing on thankfulness can increase your feelings of gratitude.
Say thank you. The simple act of saying a sincere “thank you” to others will grow your gratitude. Both saying “thank you” out loud and taking the time to write a thank you note will help you increase gratitude in your life. If you cannot thank someone personally, even pausing to thank them in your mind can foster gratitude. As you are working on your health with adjustments and exercise thank your body for the improvements you are seeing and the things you are able to do.
Start saying grace. Pausing to express your thanks before eating is a popular practice for cultivating gratitude. Grace is commonly said as a prayer of thanksgiving before a meal, but you don’t need to be religious to say grace. Just take a moment to express your thanks for your food and recognize the blessing of a nourishing meal. If you are eating local organic food take a moment to thank your local farmers and markets for providing nutritious and healthy food for your family.
Surround yourself with gratitude cues. Fostering gratitude might require some reminders. Surround yourself with pictures of people, pets, or places that inspire your feelings of gratitude. Make a gratitude board on Pinterest and look at it each day. Leave yourself post-it notes with reminders of what you are thankful for and make it a habit to take a moment to give thanks whenever you see them.
When you make an effort to focus your mind and thoughts on things you are grateful for, you’ll start to notice more things to be grateful for. Brain scans of people who foster gratitude have shown changes to the prefrontal cortex that make them more likely to experience gratitude in the future. This means that as you work to have more gratitude in your life, the positive feelings of thankfulness will begin to flow more easily and naturally.
Fostering gratitude takes a little bit of time and intention, but your efforts will pay off. You will transform your mind and possibly even improve your physical and mental health by choosing to focus on gratitude.
On the topic of gratitude I want to take this as an opportunity to sincerely thank each and every one of our patients over the years. This December marks our 13th year here at Desert Valley Chiropractic and we would not be here without our amazing supportive patients and our outstanding staff. You have blessed us by choosing us as your chiropractors, the referrals you send, your support, your reviews, your attendance at our events and continuing to choose us as your doctors allows us to do what we love. Our practice has grown and flourished over the years, we have won three Best Of the Valley Awards, successfully treated thousands of patients and met many wonderful friends all because of the people who show up and support us. One of the things we realized recently is our practice is at a stage where we are beginning to see patients we treated as children bringing their own children in to see us! As providers this is an amazing and heartwarming compliment. Your support provides for our family, allows us to care for our awesome employees and give back to our community we are truly grateful for all of that and more!
We are truly blessed and grateful to have all of you behind us supporting our practice.