November 2023

How Practicing Gratefulness Benefits Your Well-Being

Go Back

How Practicing Gratefulness Benefits Your Well-Being

Actions of gratitude can be incredibly rewarding, whether it’s telling your loved ones how much they mean to you, appreciating your day-to-day surroundings, or celebrating the little things that enhance your life. 

And the cherry on top? Incorporating regular gratitude rhythms into your life is actually really simple. We’ve gathered some great ideas for how to do this well, and the mental and physical benefits you can expect to see from adopting a daily gratitude practice. 

 Below, we share why gratitude is important, outline the mental and physical health benefits, reveal some ways of expressing gratitude, and suggest how to incorporate this transformative mindset into your daily life. 

Ready to experience first-hand the many health benefits of practicing gratitude? Let’s get started!

Understanding the Health Benefits of Gratitude

So, what does it mean exactly to “practice gratitude”? Well, first and foremost, it’s your attempt at training your mind to notice, cherish, and appreciate things in your life that are positive and that you already have. 

That could include little things that, when added up, actually equate to a wonderful life. Think about things like a clean, comfortable bed, or a great cup of coffee, or the feeling of a great workout in the morning. 

Or, you could focus on some of the bigger factors in your life that bring you joy and meaning: a loving family, or meaningful employment. 

Either way, it’s about pausing and reflecting, training your mind not to simply accept these parts of your life as guaranteed, but to acknowledge the gift that they are. 

Why is it important to be grateful? According to the science behind happiness, practicing gratefulness offers many benefits, including physical and mental health improvements. 

When you look at the brighter side of life, your brain releases feel-good chemicals that can do everything from boosting mood and reducing stress to alleviating pain and protecting your heart. The mere act of practicing gratitude can help you to live BETTER and LONGER! 

Here are some key mental health benefits of practicing gratitude: 

  • • Brighter mood and outlook: Practicing gratitude and feeling happy tend to go hand-in-hand. Gratefulness leads to the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of pleasure, motivation, and enjoyment. 
  • • Higher confidence and self-esteem: Releasing serotonin, a natural substance that can boost confidence, is another gratitude health benefit. Serotonin also stimulates mood, memory, sleep, and appetite! 
  • • Stronger relationships: As you practice gratitude for mental health, your body will also produce oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone.” Whatever you want to call it, this most-welcome hormone results in feelings of love and interconnectedness. Hugs!
  • • Less focus on material goods: Basic necessities aside, most of us recognize that physical items can only bring so much joy. Practicing gratefulness shifts the focus away from dwelling on what we don’t have to appreciating what’s already a part of our lives. 

Can Gratitude Improve Your Physical Health?

Gratitude and happiness are emotions that feel good AND benefit your physical health. A daily practice of gratitude may even lead to a longer (and better quality of) life! Here’s how.

Practicing gratitude:

  • • Supports heart health: The release of oxytocin from practicing gratefulness expands blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure and protects the heart. 
  • • Reduces cortisol levels: Cortisol is a stress hormone that affects blood sugar (glucose) levels. Elevated cortisol can cause headaches, weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, anxiety, and depression. Oxytocin lowers cortisol levels, so bring it on! 
  • • Alleviates pain: While nobody’s ever grateful for pain, practicing gratefulness can provide relief. Oxytocin acts as an analgesic, improving the body’s ability to tolerate pain. 
  • • Improves sleep: Studies have shown that people fall asleep faster, sleep longer, and awake more rested after practicing gratefulness before bed. Sweet dreams!
  • • May boost immunity: Although more research is needed, there may be a link between practicing gratitude — particularly in supporting others — and improved immune function. (To be safe, pay it forward!)

Incorporating Gratitude into Daily Life

While practicing gratitude and happiness comes naturally to some, others require more diligence. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to change your mindset! Here are some of our favorite ways to practice gratitude:

  • • Focus on mindfulness: As you begin practicing gratefulness, remember that this practice requires practice! Take some time every day to focus inward. Reflect on your five senses, along with who and what surrounds you. Turn your mind to positive sentiments. 
  • • Keep a gratitude journal: Each day, write down several things (or names of people) you are grateful for. Perhaps someone made you laugh, you appreciated some help from a neighbor or co-worker, or you enjoyed a peaceful moment with nature. If you’re having a tough day, pull out your journal and read through previous entries!
  • • Show appreciation to those around you: When someone is special to you or does something that makes you feel good, tell them! Saying “I love you” or “thank you” in the moment is great, but writing a note of appreciation or performing an act of return kindness may be even better. 
  • • Share your approach with others: Spread your newfound love and joy by asking a friend or family member to join you in your gratitude practice! You will both be happier and healthier for it.
  • • Focus on your strengths: Don’t forget to be kind to yourself! Stop beating yourself up for your faults. Instead, focus on your positive attributes. (We know you’ve got many!)
  • • Celebrate ALL accomplishments: While many of us celebrate major events like a new job, a wedding, or the birth of a baby, it is also important to celebrate small achievements. For example, did you get out of bed and go to work today, even though you really didn’t want to? (Yay, you!)
  • • Experience nature: Getting outside to appreciate nature is another fantastic way to practice gratitude for mental health — TRUST US! Go for a walk, do some gardening, or simply relax and breathe in some clean air. Happiness will soon follow!

• Live in the moment: Set aside your future worries by focusing on people and experiences in your immediate surroundings. It never hurts to imagine those happy hormones flooding your body!

Cultivating a Grateful Mindset

At Jazzercise, a little gratitude can go a long way, so we want to share how much we appreciate YOU. We love supporting your fitness goals, cheering on your entire sweat squad, and creating lasting memories at the ultimate dance party!

Practicing gratefulness is one of the best ways to lighten your mood, soak in your surroundings, and be more present. As you begin to experience greater happiness and other health benefits of gratitude, it won’t be long before you pass on your positive mindset to others. Soon, happy and grateful people will soon surround you — and who wouldn’t appreciate that?!

We’ll see you soon in class. In the meantime, keep up the positivity!


Cher Lindsey
I am grateful for the Jazzercise emails I receive giving me helpful insights, recipes and music.
Thx Jazzercise!!
11/10/2023 2:18:21 PM

joany hardy
When I take the time {which I am working on] I remember every day IS thanks giving day
11/10/2023 12:08:46 PM

Nancy Buck
Great article. I appreciate being reminded to be grateful for all the positive things I experience in life. Even being open to learning from things that are not so pleasant. Thank you for writing this.
11/7/2023 3:48:34 PM

Delores Herring
Wonderful article that helps us to focus on our mental and emotional health as well as the physical aspects. Thank you Jazzercise!
11/7/2023 4:09:38 AM

Agnes Arnold
Appreciate insightful information on gratitude. Thank you for sharing.
11/7/2023 12:59:04 AM

Leave Comment