Photo: ThinkstockBy Amy Shearn
Like pretty much everyone else in America, I constantly find myself ignoring health advice I know to be sound. "Exercise is very important," I lecture my daughter, shooing her off to run at the playground while I stand stone-still, drinking my billionth coffee of the day, eating some simple carb, and pressing my cell phone to the side of my brain. So I'm relieved when I learn about some health-improving practice that I know I can actually maintain. Like being thankful.
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Everyone has something to be thankful for, even on the most horrible, terrible, no-good, very-bad day. And remembering what we're thankful for makes us feel a whole lot better.(That's why every week we make a list of things we're grateful for.) But it turns out it can also improve your health-Ocean Robbins' comprehensive essay on the Huffington Post explores why.
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According to Robbins, multiple studies have shown that when people keep gratitude journals-writing down one thing they are thankful for every day-they report more satisfaction with their lives, feel more optimism, feel more connected with others, and are kinder to the people around them. They even sleep better and feel more refreshed upon waking. One study even suggested that depressed people showed much lower levels of gratitude than non-depressed people. And you must read the whole essay for the fascinating formula that predicts whether marriages will fail or flourish.
All it takes is a moment to count your blessings, to tell friends and partners what you appreciate about them. Try it. Look in the mirror and think about something you like about yourself, interrupting the mundane mantra of "Man, the mirror needs to be cleaned. Man, do my eyebrows need some attention..." After all, science has proven that this is good for you. And it's easier than a sit-up, I'll tell you that much.
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