According to Monique Tello, MD, MPH, offering gratitude and overall adapting a positive stance even toward our challenges can protect against heart disease.
Dr. Tello cites researchers in the UK who examined the psychological characteristics of over 8,000 people, and found that those with the above described positive orientation enjoyed a 30% lower risk of developing heart disease.
In addition, extant research suggests that having a positive outlook and engaging in activities such as regular gratitude practices may even be benefit people who already have cardiovascular disease, which is significant, because they are at very high risk of having heart attacks and strokes.
According to Dr. Tello, “Researchers have also studied gratitude in patients with heart failure. Those who kept a daily gratitude journal, where they listed three or four things for which they were thankful every day for two months, had lower levels of inflammatory hormones and a lower heart rate during a stressful exercise. This suggests that the simple daily habit of expressing gratitude can have big long-term health effects.”