Gratitude thoughts do not have to happen only once a year when cooking the Thanksgiving turkey. The idea of gratitude comes heavily to mind during holidays, but it should be something that people think about daily. Here, UT Austin professor Kevin Dalby shares his thoughts on the benefits of practicing gratitude regularly.
Kevin Dalby, UT Austin professor of chemical biology and medicinal chemistry at the College of Pharmacy, currently works as a researcher in cancer drug discovery. He is a co-director of the Texas Screening Alliance for Cancer Therapeutics and the principal investigator on a $2.3 million CPRIT grant that gives Texas scientists access to drug discovery research resources. Dalby often reflects on his time as a student at the University of Cambridge, where his career interests first blossomed. He is grateful for the opportunity to be on the frontlines of making the world a more cancer-free place.
Dr Dalby shares his favourite benefits of gratitude.
Thinking about what we are grateful for might seem simple, but this practice’s effects are powerful. Regular moments of gratitude can boost mental and physical health as studies have uniquely linked gratitude to life satisfaction. According to a study found in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, being more grateful improves a goodnight’s sleep. Getting good rest will enhance overall wellness and leave behind tired days. Focusing more on mental health, multiple studies, like one published in the Clinical Psychology Review in 2010, have shown gratitude having a direct connection to lowering depression levels and suicidal thoughts. Physically, thoughts of gratitude can lower blood pressure, boost immunity, cut pain or aches, and even lead to a healthier heart.
Many people can relate to resenting a job, getting burnt out, or feeling stuck in life. Thoughts of gratitude can be the solution in moments that need a spark of happiness. Harvard Medical School published a study that proved that being grateful makes people feel happier. Having a gratitude mindset can also make mundane routines or daily living more exciting as it produces more energy to work on specific goals. Finding little things to be thankful about through all of life’s moments will fuel enthusiasm, energy, alertness, attentiveness, and determination.
It is not possible to be fearful and grateful at the same time. Gratitude cancels out fear, which allows people to make better decisions. Living a life without fear means more moments of joy, more opportunities taken, less stress, and overall a better approach to life. Such a mindset that allows one to move forward rather than harp on the things that cannot be controlled will enhance prosperity. Moments of “I can’t” will turn into “I can,” and life’s doors and windows will open. Gratitude also brings peace of mind. Piece of mind helps avoid a world of pain, and that mixed with lack of fear will make any human unstoppable to live their best life.
About Kevin Dalby
Kevin Dalby, UT Austin professor at the College of Pharmacy, teaches chemical biology and medicinal chemistry. Dr. Dalby is a big advocate of cancer research as he currently works on cancer drug discovery. When he was a student at the University of Cambridge, Dalby was always interested in the “why” of chemical reactions, which lead to his passion and appreciation for what he currently does with cancer research. During his time off, Dr. Dalby enjoys photography and spending time in the Texas countryside with his dogs.
Elena Deeley did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.