Using psychological tests on 186 people at high risk for heart disease progression, researchers obtained scores comparing gratitude and spiritual well-being in subjects.

“We found that more gratitude in these patients was associated with better mood, better sleep, less fatigue and lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers related to cardiac health,” said lead author Paul J. Mills, PhD, professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California, San Diego.

Patients who were asked to keep personal gratitude journals showed reductions in circulating levels of inflammatory biomarkers, and improved heart rate variability considered a measure of reduced cardiac risk.

Mills said, “It seems that a more grateful heart is indeed a more healthy heart, and that gratitude journaling is an easy way to support cardiac health.”

The study was published in the journal Spirituality in Clinical Practice®.

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