Expressing Gratitude Is Good for Your Health
No matter how busy you are, it’s worth making time for gratitude this holiday season.
The holiday season, a time for joy and togetherness, can also be stressful and anxiety-producing. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or burned out, remind yourself what Thanksgiving is all about.
Try expressing gratitude. A Harvard Health article explains how giving thanks can make you happier, help you handle adversity, strengthen your relationships, and improve your health. This Forbes article covers how gratitude helps you regulate your emotions, elevate your mindset, and more.
This Mayo Clinic has tips for making gratitude part of your daily routine. If you’re having a hard time right now and not feeling especially grateful, try imagining how thankful you’ll be when your circumstances improve.
Philanthropy feels good — and it’s good for your health, too. During the holidays, as we reflect on the year with gratitude, many of us feel inspired to donate money and time to causes that matter to us. That good feeling we get when we give to others also has health benefits. They include lower blood pressure, less depression, lower stress levels, and a longer life.
Gratitude is a powerful tool in healthcare.
It's important for patients to appreciate how hard medical professionals work and how stressful their jobs can be. The BHA team has decades of experience working in healthcare settings, and we have seen first-hand how mindfulness and gratitude can make a difference in patient care. A few examples:
- A positive, grateful attitude makes it easier to communicate clearly—and that affects your care. The next time you make a doctor’s appointment, keep in mind that you still may have to wait to see the doctor. (Doctors' schedules often change unexpectedly based on urgent needs.) If you let yourself get frustrated about the wait, you may be distracted during your appointment. A grateful mindset can help you focus on the time you have with your doctor, so that you can ask the right questions and really listen to what your doctor says.
- A few kind words can go a long way. Thanking your healthcare team will make them feel valued and appreciated, and that means a lot, especially in a high-stress environment like an emergency room. When you go to the ER, be patient and understanding with the staff, and they will do their best to help you get the care you need.
- Treat healthcare providers—and their rules and policies—with respect. For example, Better Health Advisors worked with an ER patient who needed a hospital bed. We asked to speak with someone in hospital admissions and were told that it wasn’t allowed. Instead, we spoke with a doctor and explained the situation, and he called admissions on the patient’s behalf. Of course, we expressed our gratitude for his help.
- Gratitude keeps things running smoothly. In a stressful medical situation, it's not easy to stay calm, but getting agitated will only make things worse. If someone in the doctor’s office or hospital has to calm you down before they can help you, it wastes everyone's time. Instead, try to be compassionate with yourself, other patients, and the staff. Managing your emotions will make it easier for you to explain what you need when it's your turn, and create a more positive experience all around.
If you find healthcare issues overwhelming, you don't have to navigate the healthcare system alone. For support managing your healthcare during the holiday season or any time of year, reach out to an expert health advisor.
Happy Thanksgiving from the Better Health Advisors team!