Be Thankful. It’s Good For Your Health

When you have a chronic health condition, like migraines, it’s easy to get frustrated around the holidays when increases in demands and changes in schedules, diets, and sleep patterns can wreck havoc on migraine attacks.

Having relatives insist you try a glass of wine, processed meats and aged cheeses on the appetizer tray, and chocolate cake for dessert can make you count down the days until Thanksgiving is over. When holiday stresses build up, being thankful can be tough.

Being thankful, however, may be a prescription to better health. This year, try writing down lists of things you’re thankful for and see if that changes your holiday experience. This may sound a little hokey, but Dr. Sansone, a professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Internal Medicine at Wright State University School of Medicine in Dayton, Ohio has found that making a note of things we’re grateful for is actually a ticket to better well being. Dr. Sansone wrote an article in the journal Psychiatry titled, “Gratitude and well being: the benefits of appreciation.” In this paper, Sansone describes the results of previously published studies showing how listing what your thankful for translates into better overall well being. For example, in one study one set of people were asked to write about bad things in their lives or hassles, another group wrote about things for which they were grateful, and a third listed events that were neither negative nor positive. After completing their lists, people writing about what they were thankful for were found to have a greater sense of well being than the other two groups. Similar results have been shown in other studies, with people consistently feeling better about themselves and their overall health when they focused on the positives in their lives.

So be thankful for the big things in your life — family, friends, your home, and food — and the small things — a new day, fresh sheets on your bed, a dishwasher. And on those days when you’re feeling discouraged, take a pause and make a list of what you can be thankful for. You’ll feel better about yourself, which is great for your psyche and your physical

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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