Facebook Pixel

Expressing Gratitude Is Linked to Reducing Heart Disease Risk

By Expert HERWriter
Rate This
Expressing Gratitude Is Linked to Reduced Heart Disease Risk rocketclips/Fotolia

Gratitude! Oprah made the concept of gratitude very popular when she did a show on it and featured Sarah Ban Breathnach in 1995. She had written a book called "Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy," which was later followed with her "Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude."

I remember watching the show, thinking how excited Oprah was about writing her gratitude journal every day. She recommended to her viewers that they write in their gratitude journals and see how their lives would change.

Oprah generally talks about gratitude in terms of helping her emotional state —and the emotional state of anyone else who was willing to try the process of writing in a gratitude journal.

Now a research study published in the American Psychological Association's journal Spirituality in Clinical Practice shows that gratitude can have a positive impact on heart disease.

According to Psychology Today, gratitude is defined as “an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has, as opposed to, for example, a consumer-driven emphasis on what one wants.”

Gratitude involves noticing and appreciating the positive aspects of life. It is part of a positive outlook on life. Gratitude is also commonly seen as an aspect of spirituality, said lead author Paul J. Mills, PhD, professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego.

Previous research has shown that people who considered themselves spiritual often had greater overall well-being, including physical health. So Mills and his team looked at the role of spirituality and gratitude played for patients that had asymptomatic heart failure for at least three months.

These patients with asymptomatic heart failure had a structural change in their heart because of a previous heart attack that damaged the heart cells. It is considered asymptomatic because they don’t show any symptoms.

They chose candidates in the first three months after their heart attacks because that is a critical time to make sure that the heart doesn’t progress to heart failure with symptoms.

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Heart Disease

Get Email Updates

Heart Disease Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!