It is a fact that negative emotions like anxiety, worry, fear and stress activate the sympathetic nervous system, your “fight or flight” system. This part of your nervous system prepares you to defend against danger by increasing heart rate and blood pressure. When it is over-activated, it breaks your body down. Living in the stressful world today, it doesn’t take much to stimulate this part of your nervous system.
On the other hand, your parasympathetic system is the nourishing, healing, elimination, rebuilding and regeneration system. It stimulates digestion as well as the immune and eliminative organs. Positive emotions activate this system and one of the most effective and powerful ways to activate it is by living in gratitude.
I felt sharing the information in this article was especially appropriate this week as we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving.
“The simple act of gratitude has been scientifically shown to balance our heart rhythms and nervous system, leading to favorable changes in immunity and hormonal equilibrium, as well as increased production of the anti-aging compound DHEA. Further benefits include a significant reduction in stress, anxiety, insomnia and depression.”
It is so easy to slip into a negative mindset of worry, anxiety and fear. However, as the article demonstrates, practicing gratitude can not only shut the stress response down, impacting overall health and longevity, it will also improve both physical and mental well-being.
Practicing true feelings of gratitude, appreciation and other positive emotions can synchronize brain and heart rhythms, creating a shift throughout the body to coherence, which is a scientifically measurable state.
As always, God said it first and best and I especially love 1Thessalonians 5:18 in the Amplified Bible:
“Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].”
According to HeartMath, some of the benefits of intentionally practicing feeling gratitude are hormonal balance and release of DHEA, the anti-aging hormone, boosting the immune system, and increased ability to experience this positive emotion. Every time you experience any emotion, it excites your brain and nervous system and creates a pathway for you to repeat that experience.
It’s good to be thankful on this holiday and it is even better to practice and live in an attitude of gratitude daily. Not only will you be nicer to be around, you may live a longer, healthier life.
What are you most thankful for?
Heartmath.org has graciously given me permission to share this link with you where you can get a copy of their e-book, The Appreciative Heart, free.
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