Gratitude: A Vital Nutrient for PCOS and Hormone Imbalance

I’m grateful for you!

This is my favorite time of year because we’re getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving and I want to show you why giving thanks all year long is good for symptoms of PCOS and hormone imbalance. In fact it may just be the secret elixir – the magic potion for getting and staying balanced more of the time.

Here’s what the science tells about an attitude of gratitude:

  • Lowers stress hormones – women with PCOS tend to have higher than normal stress hormones. In a study of 45 adults who were taught to “cultivate appreciation and other positive emotions” there was a mean 23% reduction in cortisol (our stress hormone) and a 100% increase in DHEA plus there was increased coherence in heart rate variability patterns.[1] 
  • Improves sleep – we know that women with PCOS can have a hard time getting a good night’s sleep. A recent study found that by writing in a gratitude journal just for 15 minutes every evening helped students worry less at bedtime and sleep longer and better afterward.[2] 
  • Improves physical health – those who are grateful exercise more, and more movement increases positive brain chemistry which helps keep this awesome cycle going! 
  • Experience less aches and pains: according to a study published in 2012 grateful people experience fewer aches and pains.[3] 
  • Improves depression: those who show more gratitude are less depressed, and that means less cravings, better sleep and a more positive outlook. 
  • More motivated: gratitude activates regions in the brain associated with dopamine – the brain chemical that seeks out “reward” and also helps us “initiate action” – which we really need to help us heal and stay well, and may be why we want to exercise more. 
  • Improves positivity: gratitude keeps your brain in a virtuous cycle of looking for more things to be grateful for! What we put our attention on grows: practicing gratitude “grows” exactly what we want – we get more of what we’re grateful for.


3 Ways to Develop Your Gratitude Muscles

  1. Keep a gratitude journal and write down 5 things each night that you’re grateful for and why you’re grateful before going to bed. 
  2. Deploy opposition thinking: when a negative thought comes into your mind, immediately think the opposite – turn a negative into a positive. 
  3. Get into a routine: challenge yourself to commit to this practice everyday for the next 10 days and see what happens!

An attitude of gratitude can increase your determination, attention, enthusiasm and energy compared to other groups.[4] It’s not simply noticing that you are better off than others – this is not gratitude. “Gratitude requires an appreciation of the positive aspects of your situation.” says Alex Korb, Ph.D.

It takes practice like any other skill or habit, but it feels so good that once you start you’ll be hooked! And for those of us with symptoms of PCOS or hormone imbalance, it is a vital nutrient we need. I am so grateful for our beautiful community and the incredible positive health changes we see here every day. Keep me posted on what you notice here in the comment section below.

Happy Thanksgiving!

References:

  • [1] R. McCraty, B. Barrios-Choplin, D. Rozman, M Atkinson & A. D. Watkins (1998) The impact of a new emotional self-management program on stress, emotions, heart rate variability, DHEA and cortisol. Integrative Physiological & Behavioral Science. 32 (2) 151-70.
  • [2] Digdon, Nancy, et al. “Effects of Constructive Worry, Imagery Distraction, and Gratitude Interventions on Sleep Quality: A Pilot Trial,” Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, Volume 3 Issue 2, (July 2011) 193-206.
  • [3] Personality and Individual Differences 2012 Study.
  • [4] Emmons and McCullough 2003

 

Still wondering if the symptoms you are suffering with be PCOS? Click the link below to take the PCOS Quiz and find out!

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