Control over your physical health with practice of gratitude with Dr. Tanya Doman

Control over your physical health with practice of gratitude with Dr. Tanya Doman

Written by
Dr. Tanya Doman
Thursday 11, 2021

Control Over Your Physical Health with Practice of Gratitude

By Dr. Tanya Doman

As we set out to embrace the Thanksgiving holiday in the US, let’s talk about how the seemingly simply act of being grateful, year-round, is highly related to a better quality of life.

 There have been numerous scientific studies that have investigated physical & mental health in relation to a consistent practice of gratitude.

 Positive outcomes included:

  • Less Anxiety
  • Less Depression
  • Higher Satisfaction with Life
  • Higher Quality of Life
  • Higher Productivity
  • Greater Self-esteem
  • Better Sleep
  • Better Relationships
  • Less Stress
  • Less Inflammation

Reducing stress & depression is an important aspect of thriving and the holidays are a particularly stressful time for most. For those already dealing with sadness and similar feelings, the “holiday blues” makes their problems seem worse. And this is an occurrence happening long before the pandemic!

We live in a fast-paced society. There is a tendency to ruminate on what others may have or what we may perceive in ourselves as a deficiency or not good enough. If you’re a dancer, you are naturally enmeshed in a competitive arena. When we feel defective or depressed, there is less of a conscious gratitude practice. This is an unfulfilling and unrealistic pattern that we can stifle with practice. Enhancing gratitude takes mindfulness and repetition. Think of it as a skill to intentionally improve your health and well-being

In a 2019 study it took as little as 14 days to see such benefits as: increased happiness and life satisfaction along with decreased depression symptoms. Imagine what could happen if we made it a habit and did this for several months!

The interesting factor discovered in another 2019 study showed that “gratitude and life satisfaction mutually predict each other over time.”

Simply put, the grateful we are, the higher life satisfaction we experience, which brings more gratitude… leading to a virtuous cycle- vs a vicious one!

Putting on a happy face may not change things emotionally when you feel inside that you’re a mess, but even just the simple act of smiling can affect positive cardiovascular responses. The reason is that there is a physiological effect to our thinking; our thoughts produce biological changes in our bodies. And therefore, the converse is true; negative emotions, especially when chronic, have health-damaging effects.

As you increase your consistent practice of being grateful, your happiness increases, blood pressure drops, and your heart rate decreases. You are literally lowering the inflammatory markers in the body (as shown in this study).

Once again, let me say it loud for the people in back: Positive thinking and gratitude promote health on all levels!

To get started, write down 3-5 things per day. Even the act of putting pen to paper is very kinesthetic and soothing.

Making entries in journal is a wonderful because then you have a written record to look back upon, particularly during the holidays when emotions are swirling.

The act of being grateful is available to you: 24/7, free, DIY, no equipment necessary, and your current state of health and age aren’t a factor to being successful with it!

You CAN increase your well-being and have some degree of control over your physical health with a consistent practice of gratitude.

That sounds like something to be immediately grateful for!

Additional resources:

Gratitude and Loneliness: Enhancing Health and Well-Being in Older Adults
Counting blessings versus burdens: an experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life
Ethnic variation in gratitude and well-being
Psychosocial health mediates the gratitude-physical health link
Dr Tanya Doman (“T”) is a clinical doctor and multi-credentialed health & fitness professional.
She teaches dance as well as a host of other formats (including yoga, as a 200hr RYT), while also being a long-time Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA). When she’s not working with patients in the clinic or online, she is an elite and exclusive performer for Life Time. She has served on several boards and task forces including AFAA and California’s Department of Consumer Affairs.
Her professional and personal priorities were amended when she was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2020. A lover of evidenced-based medicine and research, her free time is spent reading studies.
She provides health and wellness consultations for those seeking to thrive, particularly if they have been impacted by cancer, arthritis or other chronic health conditions.
You can check out her Instagram profile ( @thefitchick ) where she posts helpful health hacks and reach out to her through her email or the website


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