Showing gratitude towards people, appreciating their good work and having a thankful outlook towards life can result in an improved mental and physical health in patients with asymptomatic heart failure, suggests a new research.
"We found that more gratitude in such people was associated with better mood, better sleep, less fatigue and lower levels of inflammatory bio-markers related to cardiac health," explained Dr. Paul J. Mills, professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California, San Diego.
The study involved 186 men and women who had been diagnosed with asymptomatic (Stage B) heart failure for at least three months. Stage B consists of patients who have developed structural heart disease but do not show symptoms of heart failure.
Using standard psychological tests, the researchers obtained scores for gratitude and spiritual well-being. They then compared those scores with the patients' scores for depressive symptom severity, sleep quality, fatigue, self-efficacy (belief in one's ability to deal with a situation) and inflammatory markers. They found higher gratitude scores were associated with better mood, higher quality sleep, more self-efficacy and less inflammation.
"We found that spiritual well-being was associated with better mood and sleep but it was the gratitude aspect of spirituality that accounted for those effects, not spirituality per se," Mills noted.
It seems that a more grateful heart is indeed a more healthy heart, the authors concluded in a paper published in the journal Spirituality in Clinical Practice