The Thanksgiving holiday is a perfect time to reflect on everything we are grateful for in our lives. Research shows that gratitude has daily benefits, both psychologically and physiologically, no matter the time of year.
Dr. Lindsey Root Luna, associate professor of psychology at Hope College, is a clinical psychologist who investigates how virtues are connected to our physiology. In particular, she is interested in the how embodying gratitude, mindfulness, forgiveness, and hope impact our psychological and physiological functioning. In a recent study with Hope neuroscience students, Root Luna investigated the influence of brief gratitude, mindfulness, and hope inductions in combating worry in college students. Although the mindfulness imagery had a greater impact on physiology, like muscle tension and respiration rate, gratitude imagery produced the most positive outcomes psychologically.