Tips for Healthy Living: Gratitude Does Your Body Good

Tips for Healthy Living

We’ve partnered with Dr. Doug Husbands of Holistic Health Bay Area to bring you a new set of Tips for Healthy Living. Dr. Husbands is a functional medicine doctor, clinical nutritionist, anti-aging health practitioner and doctor of chiropractic. I appreciate that he encourages visiting the doctor to focus on staying healthy instead of only visiting when you’re sick. – Carmelo Sigona

Gratitude Does Your Body Good

By Dr. Douglas Husbands

We’re coming up on Thanksgiving. With the season of thanks in mind, it’s important to remember that an attitude of gratitude has extremely powerful physiologic effects that not only helps your relationships, but also improves your health. Some of these benefits are:

Increases Serotonin Levels In Your Brain
Thinking and expressing gratitude raises your serotonin, the “feel good” hormone. Robert Emmons, a research psychologist at the University of California, Davis, has published many studies showing that gratitude raises brain serotonin levels.

Helps You Stay Fit and Decreases Pain
Dr. Emmons’ research findings also show that those who are more grateful spend more time exercising and have less pain. Those with a grateful attitude have been found to exercise more regularly and are more physically and emotionally fit.

Prevents Depression
A study published in 2009 by researchers at York University in Toronto showed that depressed subjects who completed a “gratitude exercise” every night, were less depressed six months post-study.

Reduces Your Stress Hormone Levels
In response to stress, your cortisol rises, while DHEA acts as a buffer to the negative stress effect. In a study where 45 adults were taught to “cultivate appreciation and other positive emotions,”  salivary DHEA and cortisol levels were measured, autonomic nervous system function were assessed and emotions were measured using a psychological questionnaire. Individuals were assessed before and for four weeks after receiving training in the techniques. There was a mean 23% reduction in cortisol and a 100% increase in DHEA among the study participants.

Lowers your Blood Pressure and Improve Cardiovascular Health
In a paper published in 2005 in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, Dr. Alan Rozanski, a cardiologist from Columbia University Department of Medicine in New York, discussed various psychological factors influencing cardiovascular health. Thankfulness was one of the key factors protective of cardiovascular health. This paper, and many other studies, suggest gratitude also helps:

  • Improve Your Immune System to Fight Infections
  • Help You Sleep Better
  • Help Improve Your Relationships with Others
  • Help Improve Coping Ability In Difficult Situations

So remember, to not only give thanks on Thanksgiving, but every day!

About Dr. Doug:
Dr. Douglas Husbands is a Functional Medicine Doctor, Clinical Nutritionist, Anti-Aging Health Practitioner, and Doctor of Chiropractic.  As a health advocate and coach, he is dedicated to achieving optimal health through resolving the underlying disease processes through diet, nutrition and lifestyle modification.   To contact Dr. Doug, call 650-394-7470 or visit

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