It even reduces the chances of a second heart attack in someone who has suffered heart failure in the past, researchers from the University of California in San Diego have discovered.
Gratitude lowers the biomarkers of inflammation, which relates to heart health as well as a range of other chronic problems.
The researchers studied the impact of spiritual beliefs and gratitude on a group of 186 men and women, who had been diagnosed with heart failure, and whose heart attack had damaged the heart.
During the eight weeks they kept a 'gratitude diary', where they wrote down the things for which they were grateful, the participants' inflammatory biomarkers fell, so reducing their risk of a second attack. They also reported a range of other health benefits, from improved sleep, better mood and feeling less tired.
Gratitude is part of a wider outlook on life, say the researchers, which is more positive, and often spiritual.
(Source: Spirituality in Clinical Practice, 2015; 2(1): 5)