Generous Heart = Healthy Heart

March 07, 2018

Did you know: studies have shown that expressing gratitude can impact your physical health? In fact, gratitude can:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improve immune function
  • Facilitate more efficient sleep
  • Increase levels of good cholesterol (HDL)
  • Decrease levels of bad cholesterol (LDL)
  • Lower levels of systolic and diastolic blood pressure
  • Increase levels of heart rate variability
  • Lower levels of creatinine
  • Lower levels of C-reactive protein—a marker of cardiac inflammation indicating heart disease

There is growing research on the power of gratitude, especially for its healing ability. Neuroimaging has shown that when you express gratitude, your brain literally “lights up.”

Susan Barcus, FAHP, president and chief development officer for Kettering Medical Center Foundation and Kettering Health Network, says she hears over and over how important the expression of gratitude through giving is for mental health. One donor, she shares, says that his volunteer work and charitable giving has helped in his healing process following the passing of his wife.

“Folks know giving back to the place where they get their care isn’t expected; it’s an unexpected act of gratitude,” Susan says. And the unexpectedness of gratitude is key. The intention behind giving matters when it comes to the health benefits of giving back.

Robert Emmons, Ph.D., and leading researcher on the science of gratitude says, “When you give, it is more than giving your time or resources; fundamentally, it is about giving of your whole self. Because of this, gratitude is healing.”

To explore opportunities to give back, visit

Want to impact the Dayton community? Join us for Family Wellness Day featuring the Walk for Women’s Wellness on Sunday, May 6, noon-4 p.m. at the Kettering Cancer Center on the campus of Kettering Medical Center.

The Walk for Women’s Wellness benefits the Kettering Medical Center Foundation’s Women’s Wellness Fund, which helps underserved women in the Dayton area receive lifesaving breast cancer screenings and services.