Acknowledging gratitude is wholly beneficial to the rebel entrepreneur. I’ve spoken in the past about how the practice of giving thanks safeguards the rebel entrepreneur against a number of mental health problems, fosters happiness and ultimately primes the mind for the world of business. However, gratitude’s impact can be felt on a deeper, physical level, manifesting in overall wellness.
In a 2007 study on blood pressure, 41 adults with hypertension were instructed to phone a ‘gratitude hotline’ once a week, in conjunction with their medicinal treatment. Another 41 simply continued with their standard treatment. After 10 weeks, the group who expressed their gratitude on the phone experienced a reduction in their blood pressure compared to the control group. This group also had increased success in quitting smoking and losing weight.
Gratitude can strengthen our overall physiological functioning, and this is primarily down to the fact that the feeling plays a role in the regulation of the heart. A landmark study in 2015 confirmed the link between gratitude and heart health. The study recruited people who had been identified as ‘heart failure patients’, but who were yet to experience the symptoms of degenerative heart disease, such as shortness of breath or chest pain. The patients were told to keep a gratitude journal over the course of the study and the researchers found that a conscious, deliberate effort to give thanks resulted in healthier heart rhythms and an overall reduction in inflammation.
Gratitude and the heart are intrinsically linked. Researchers at HeartMath have excavated the link between gratitude and the heart and found that the feeling has a stabilising effect on the organ, keeping it in optimal health. The heart, in turn, sends signals to the brain which triggers a plethora of mental health benefits that are typically associated with the act of giving thanks.
Gratitude is the key that unlocks an array of health benefits, which ensure that the rebel entrepreneur is not just mentally fit, but physically strong enough to deal with the challenges each new day brings.