Count your blessings. Be thankful. The message about gratitude can be heard these days, loud and clear. Being thankful is such an important practice to hold onto in this fast-paced world in which we live…simply noticing the things we are thankful of.

However, it’s all well and good to know that gratitude ought to be a priority, but perhaps you are wondering about how to practice gratitude. Well, there is a vast number of ways in which to practically introduce more gratitude into our lives. In part 1 of 2 of this journey, we look at 3 key reasons of how gratitude can positively affect your pain. In part 2, we look at simple, practical strategies to practice gratitude daily.

Gratitude and pain

Studies in the field of Positive Psychology show that experiencing gratitude can both directly and indirectly affect pain. This has implications for additional management strategies for musculoskeletal pain. Some of the benefits include:

  • Improved quality of sleep: Up to 72% of individuals with chronic pain suffer from sleep disorders. People with high levels of gratitude report better sleep, which leads to an overall decrease in depression, and anxiety as well as a marked improvement in pain
  • Alleviates pain: Gratitude decreases sensitivity to pain while improving pain tolerance. People who are more grateful in their lives feel pain in fewer places, with a much lower intensity
  • Increased positive emotion and self-esteem: Most of the secondary effects of chronic pain result from the anxiety and depression brought on by the burden of the pain. Research indicates that the overall positive outlook on life that comes from gratitude is associated with better self-esteem.