This past year-plus has seen more than its share of challenges, which have in turn contributed to increased feelings of anxiety and depression for many. Holidays like Thanksgiving can add to the stress levels, but there’s a simple way to help us enjoy this time of year instead of stress about it: Gratitude.  

As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving with the people we love, now is a good time to remember all the blessings we have to be thankful for. This time-tested Thanksgiving tradition isn’t just a way to kick-off the turkey carving. Research shows that having an “attitude of gratitude” can also be beneficial for our mental and physical health.  

Taking time to be grateful has been shown to reduce stress, increase optimism and even change the brain. In a recent study conducted by the Greater Good Science Center, researchers found that participants who practiced gratitude felt happier and more satisfied with life, avoided burnout, enjoyed better physical health, improved sleep quality, experienced lower levels of cellular inflammation, had greater resiliency, and strengthened qualities of patience, humility and compassion. One study even showed that patients who expressed gratitude following an acute coronary event had healthier hearts two weeks after the episode1.

The mental and physical health benefits of gratitude can help reduce the need for healthcare interventions and lower overall healthcare costs as well. A study conducted by UC Davis showed that people who practice gratitude also tend to engage in more exercise, make healthier nutritional choices, and are less likely to smoke and abuse alcohol. The study also found that people who regularly express gratitude have lower levels of bad cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and lower levels of a protein that serves as a marker for heart disease2. 

Good health is definitely something to be grateful for. So is the freedom to make our own choices about our health, based on our closely held beliefs. Which is why more people are choosing faith-based health sharing plans to cover their families’ healthcare needs and protect their freedoms, while also lowering costs. 

With faith-based health sharing plans, healthcare expenses are distributed across all plan members — which can make them significantly more affordable than traditional health insurance. Faith-based health sharing plans employ a range of other innovative strategies to help keep healthcare costs in control, including telemedicine. To date, around 1 million Americans are currently enrolled in faith-based health sharing plans, with an average monthly savings of $300-$500 for a family membership. 

Along with lower costs, faith-based health sharing plans allow members to make their own choices about their families healthcare, and live according to their own beliefs. For example, when COVID-19 mandates threaten higher insurance costs for employer-offered plans, faith-based health sharing plans enable employees to offset those costs and protect their own freedoms. And that’s definitely something to be grateful for. 

This Thanksgiving, we wish you a happy and healthy celebration with your loved ones — full of blessings to be thankful for. And if you’re interested in learning more about health sharing ministries, click here.

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