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Thank You All: Gratitude and Physical Health

Reflect on your present blessings, on which every man has many, not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.

                                                                                                                                                                                      —Charles Dickens

The season is the time to reflect on the past year and plan for the next. We start during Thanksgiving by celebrating friends and family with a large meal, remembering what we are grateful for. We continue into the Christmas season by giving and receiving gifts from those around us. Sharing in a season full of love, hope, and faith. We then turn toward New Years to form resolutions and goals for the upcoming year. One might think that these sentiments have little to do with physical therapy and physical health and wellness. However some early studies would challenge this.

One study asked people to participate in an online gratitude journal where they could daily report an instance of gratitude toward someone or something. Those that noted a greater number of gratitude experiences had significantly greater satisfaction with life, higher resilience to stress, and increased happiness. The group also reported decreased headaches, nasal congestion, stomach pain, or sore throat. Another study found that a weekly gratitude reporting was associated with more positive appraisals of ones life, more time spent exercising, and fewer reported physical symptoms.

So what does this mean to a physical therapist, or those interested in health and wellbeing. It is a reminder that we are not only physical beings, but also emotional, social, and thinking beings. By impacting one area we impact the others. It is also a reminder that by looking outward we inadvertently positively impact ourselves. So let us all remember to be grateful this season as well as this coming year for the people and things around us, just in case an apple a day isn’t cutting it.

Thank you all for reading this blog!



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