Why Practicing Gratitude is Good for Your Health

Ah, it’s November. Leaves are changing color. The temperature is cooler. The Marine Corps Marathon is over. Children are starting to make Christmas lists. And, Thanksgiving is coming.

With Thanksgiving approaching, this is a time of year when you may consider practicing more gratitude than usual. For me, while my family will undoubtedly practice “gratefulness” on Thanksgiving as we do every night, this year is markedly different. My sister is gone. (My sister passed away suddenly in June.) Andrea organized the whole Thanksgiving Day. From grocery lists, menus including several family traditions, and always planned the whole day around the Dallas Cowboys Football game (my husbands beloved team).

While this may be the first time I heard my husband express real sadness (because Andrea won’t be here), this is also a really hard time for all of us – her siblings, our children, and her hundreds of friends…it is also the best time for us to practice gratitude. “By cultivating gratitude as the brain’s first response to stress, our reaction to negative experiences will become positive (e.g., peace, love, happiness, abundance)—not fear, anxiety, or anger” according to Ryan Wilder of Early to Rise.

And while the holidays are a great reminder to express gratitude, it’s not the only time of the year when we should be doing it.



Why should you care so much about gratitude? Gratitude is one of the most powerful tools to increase happiness. You can’t be in a state of appreciation and fear, or anxiety, at the same time.

If you can bring more gratitude into your life every single day, you will be happier, more fulfilled, and more appreciative for everything you have right now. And the benefits go beyond just mental and emotional health; more research is demonstrating that gratitude can improve your physical health as well. A gratitude practice translates over to almost every facet of your life.

Physical benefits:

  • • Improves sleep quality
  • • Reduces pain
  • • Helps to reduces levels of stress by activating the parasympathetic nervous system

Psychological benefits:

  • • Better mood
  • • Positive emotions and thoughts
  • • More awareness and self-satisfaction

Social benefits:

  • • Better communication skills
  • • Increases productivity
  • • Stronger relationships
  • • More involvement in groups and community

Gratitude has a huge impact on us from a neurological level. When we express and receive gratitude, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin, two crucial neurotransmitters responsible for our emotions, and they make us feel ‘good’. They enhance our mood immediately, making us feel happier.

Whatever gets in your mind and stays there, you will attract it in your life. If you’re constantly thinking about never having enough, you will always attract lack. If you’re constantly thinking about not being well or not being happy with your body, you will always feel like you’re chasing elusive health goals and you’re always going to be wanting more.

If you take the time to appreciate all the things you already have in your life, you will start to feel more fulfilled and abundant, which will then attract more abundance and wellness into your life. We often talk about cultivating a “growth mindset” among our concierge clients. This is an easy way to begin to build one.

“Success without gratitude is the biggest failure of all” – Tony Robbins



Simple Tips to Get Started



  1. Start a gratitude journal and be specific. Write down what you’re grateful for and why. When you journal, you uncover insights about yourself which can help you to undo negative thought patterns you have.
  2. Gratitude notes. Write thank you notes to 2 people a week and let them know you are thankful for them. It can be handwritten, a text message, or an email. These can be short and don’t require a response from the person.
  3. Practice gratefulness every morning before setting those feet on the floor.
  4. Deep breathing and meditation. This helps the mind to settle and for you to connect to yourself.
  5. Find a gratitude buddy. It can be your partner, your kid, or your coworker. Set aside some minutes every day where you sit together and discuss the things you are thankful for.

Set aside the same time to intentionally express gratitude with some of the tips above. From there, figure out how to incorporate it more and more throughout the day. When you cultivate gratitude every day, you can shift your perspective and show up better in the world.


  • The latest from Adrien
Adrien founded Fitness on the Run in 2004 out of her home after a successful career in policy and public affairs communications. After spending 15 years developing her own personal definition of wellness and watching thousands struggle with theirs, in January 2019 Adrien founded Alexandria Wellness, the home for the Concierge Wellness Program and Corporate Wellness with Adrien Cotton. Over the course of 15 years, “FOR” was home to more than 2,000 clients, 30 instructors, and hundreds of inspirational success stories. Adrien is now, more-than-ever, passionate about helping women view their fitness as a journey, not a quick fix. Adrien’s recipe for success herself has evolved from a rigid training plan of sweaty and heart pumping workouts to some days getting in her 10,000 steps, consciously breathing, her 7.5 hours of sleep, and her beloved 5-Minute Flow. Adrien believes the most important ingredient is making small changes for big results, even if it’s one new habit formed each month. Still passionate about fitness, Adrien’s clients appreciate her ability to make sessions seriously challenging without a “beat down,” a healthy mix of strength and metabolic (cardio) work and ultimately helping her clients gain real strength in mind and body. She believes we all benefit from being curious about our bodies and that change, or improvement, is within reach despite what your “inner voice” or others may tell you. Adrien is bubbling with excitement to help women learn the importance of a comprehensive approach to wellness, weight loss, and contentedness with yourself, and that every person has the right to feel good about themselves. Most days, you can find her helping clients with their wellness, listening to success stories, and bragging about her twin 13-year-old children and “fittest man in Alexandria” Bill Cotton. Adrien prides herself on her practice of mindfulness, meditation, and putting it all into perspective.

Alexandria Wellness offers achievable answers for anyone who is tired of chasing fitness and health without a clear plan, someone who has struggled and is not satisfied with their fitness and wellness or someone who is open to maximized healthful longevity and fitness along with healthful weight loss. Adrien and her team offer help with food guidance, body acceptance, sleep and stress issues, and insist you have fun along the way.

Schedule your free 30 minute consult here!


Alexandria Wellness
215 North Payne Street
Alexandria, VA 22314




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get your daily dose of all things fashion, beauty, fitness, and design. Locally sourced and locally styled!