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Thanksgiving: Gratitude is Good for Us, Says Study

Nov 25, 2015 03:45 PM EST

In a week of Thanksgiving, it can feel good to feel thankful for the nice things in your life.

Not only that, but a recent study published in the journal Spirituality and Clinical Practice showed that improved heart-health and mental health can result from that action of showing gratitude on a daily basis. This proved especially true for patients who have asymptomatic heart failure.

The study took place for eight weeks, involving 186 men and women who had experienced Stage B (asymptomatic) heart problems for at least three months. These were patients who have had a heart attack that resulted in heart damage, but were not short of breath or fatigued. "We found that those patients who kept gratitude journals for those eight weeks showed reductions in circulating levels of several important inflammatory biomarkers, as well as an increase in heart rate variability while they wrote. Improved heart rate variability is considered a measure of reduced cardiac risk," Paul J. Mills, the study's lead author, said in a statement.

The patients filled out a standard questionnaire rating their gratitude regarding people, places and things in their lives, the scientists noted.

The study looked at the benefits of spirituality and gratitude, and found that while spirituality was helpful, the gratitude within the spirituality was making the difference in health. "It seems that a more grateful heart is indeed a more healthy heart, and that gratitude journaling is an easy way to support cardiac health," said Mills in the statement.

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-Follow Catherine on Twitter @TreesWhales

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