Being grateful. For each kind word, each smile, each act performed in our favour, the gifts received in these days. But gratitude has another important impact: it has a positive effect on our body. A healthy mind = a healthy body. Kindness and gratitude warm up our hearts, help in combating negative thoughts, help heal and sometimes even end up healing certain diseases completely.

There are many ways to express grattitude, for instance doing meditation, some other exercises, praying or simply expressing your feelings in words, numbering the things you are grateful for. Regardless the method you choose, the simplest and most effective way is to just write or say THANK YOU, which is at the same time one of the most beautiful ways to stay healthy and pleased. It all starts with surprising neurological effects, through which gratitude affects us and our bodies.

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For those who didn't pay enough attention at biology classes in high school, a little repetition. Hypothalamus is a part of the brain that controls all of the numerous functions of our body, including our appetite, sleep, body temperature, digestion and growth. A study performed by the National Healthcare Institute in 2009 has shown hypothalamus gets activated whenever we feel or express gratitude. This study has also shown that we literally cannot live without gratitude, although this might be hard to believe the first time one hears it.

When we truly feel grateful for something or someone, our brain rewards us. Since this feeling is so pleasant, we feel motivated to experience it again and this way become more inclined to expressing thank you to people and act in their favour whenever possible.

Gratitude also decreases the level of pain. It is hard to believe that a simple word like thank you can ease body pain, but it is a fact. In a study called Counting Blessings vs. Burdens performed in 2003, the participants, all suffering from a particular disease, wrote a so called Gratitude newspaper, into which they wrote down things they were grateful for in life. 16% of the involved reported a decrease in disease symptoms and 10% of them reported a decrease in body pain. The study has also shown the participants became much more motivated for recovering from disease.

Numerous studies and researches have shown gratitude improves the quality of sleep, decreases the time we need to fall asleep and prolongs the duration of sleep. As already mentioned, sleep is one of the many vital processes controlled by the hypothalamus. And being grateful means having a healthier, more natural and deeper sleep. Sleep is related to numerous other body functions and can decrease insomnia, depression, pain and stress. It also helps strenghten the immune system, thus making us healthier. But not only that, also more relaxed throughout the day.

Gratitude also benefits our heart and nervous system. A study on the benefits of gratitude conducted in 2007, which involved people with hypertension, has shown a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure. It has also shown that writing a so called "Gratitude newspaper" can reduce blood pressure for 10%. Being more grateful also makes us more resistant to traumatic experience and stress and speeds up recovery from these events.

The power of gratitude is truly unbelievable. It reveals us new horizons and positive sensations so that through it we are able to attract abundance into our lives. We open ourselves to the plenitude of life and are willing to receive. For it is not all about giving, we must also learn to accept open handed what is given to us and at the same time have in mind that we have deserved it. Gratitude also changes our view of the world and reminds us of what is truly important.

Any study on gratitude has provided us with undisputable evidence that gratitude benefits our bodies, minds and souls. It is normal to sometimes feel as we have nothing to be grateful for. We might feel this way because we haven't been grateful enough before. If this is the case, start by saying thank you even for small, everyday things. You don't need an excuse to be able to say thank you and this way bring more kindness to the world and your loved ones. Gratitude is healthy and contageous, spread some around.

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