Toilet Talk for November is all about gratitude and being thankful for the people, opportunities, and things that you have. If you missed it or don’t work in a place that posts Toilet Talk, you can see November right here.
But does showing gratitude make you healthier?
Short answer: maybe?
Research shows that grateful people sleep better, experience less common maladies, and generally have healthier hearts. Whether that translates into better physical health is still a gray area for science. You can see why it makes sense though. If you’re sleeping better, you’re probably better able to cope with stressful situations and have more energy; energy that can be used to be more active and keep you mentally sharp.
Although science hasn’t directly linked gratitude and physical health, the mental health benefits certainly exist. The problem with science is that it takes times, so although there’s a link, they’re just not sure why! No matter. We’re happy to enjoy the benefits while they sort out the science. You can learn more about the research related to this here.
Even if good physical health leads to greater gratitude or visa versa, gratitude has other benefits. Gratitude is good for your relationships and good for your community. It is no surprise that receiving thanks makes people happier, but so does expressing gratitude. An experiment that asked participants to write and deliver thank-you notes found large increases in reported levels of happiness, a benefit that lasted for an entire month. That translates to a month of less bickering with your spouse or less use of expletives or…you get the idea.
So in November, let’s try to show some gratitude on days other than that fourth Thursday, which makes everyone incredibly stressed anyway! Here’s a good starting point:
Start a gratitude journal. Each day, write down (or use your smart device and drop a note in Google Keep) something you appreciated or found value in that day. And NO! you can’t be grateful for the $10 in your pocket (unless it was the $10 you placed in your coat pocket last spring in anticipation of finding and celebrating when the days started getting cold again). It can be as details as you like, but being specific is beneficial. On days when a person is what you’ve appreciated or found value in, think about whether he or she knows that they’ve impacted your day. If not, send them a “thank you” note, text, email, etc.
Until next week, thank you for reading the newsletter articles!