A Deeper Beauty Hack: How Gratitude Benefits You Inside + Out

How often do you stop to smell the roses (Aka, find beauty and gratitude in your daily life)?

Your mind is a powerful tool for holistic, radiant health – inside and out. 

Studies show that centering your mind on gratitude benefits your physical body on the deepest level. The simple act of embracing gratitude in your daily life has been proven to significantly reduce inflammation, and improve your body’s ability to regulate stress hormones like cortisol – all of which can be detrimental to your skin. 

So we’re not just being flippant when we say that a daily gratitude practice is one of the best-held beauty secrets. Your internal and external worlds are intertwined in a beautiful synergistic relationship. So embracing a content, grateful disposition can change the state of your internal world, and in turn, your external appearance too.

Let’s explore what gratitude is, why it’s so powerful, + how you can learn to fully embody this positive, feel-good emotion with ease.

Defining Gratitude: What Is It, Really?

On the surface, you might think gratitude is just being thankful. But gratitude is much more than that. It’s a mental state: a way of living and being. 

Gratitude is an emotion that stretches you + pulls goodness out of all things and situations, even if it doesn’t align with what you wanted or planned. As an article on mindful.org beautifully describes it: 

“Gratitude encompasses the willingness to expand our attention so that we perceive more of the goodness we are always receiving.”1

Robert Emmons is a psychologist + one of the world’s leading experts on gratitude. He’s spent more than a decade studying how gratitude benefits and affects physical health, psychological well-being, and relationships with others. His take on gratitude? 

It’s acknowledging and confirming the goodness that surrounds us, regardless of how “imperfect” our lives are. It’s zooming out and seeing the bigger picture. We love this holistic way of approaching gratitude.

But he doesn’t stop there. To him, gratitude has two parts. 

The second is respecting + appreciating that the goodness in our lives isn’t a result of anything we’ve done or earned. Instead, it’s crediting the overflow of goodness to other people or higher powers.2 

That sounds like a great mindset to live in, right? But beyond the gift of goodness and seeing it for what it is – gratitude benefits you in even more tangible ways. 

You’ll want to stick around for this part. ;)

How Gratitude Benefits You Physically + Mentally 

Gratitude isn’t just a lofty feel-good emotion – it's a core component of a healthy, well-rounded life. Let’s take a look at all the ways gratitude benefits you physically, mentally, emotionally, and beyond. 

The outcomes of studies continue to confirm that gratitude benefits your body + overall health in many positive ways.3

Gratitude supports some key links to vibrant health (and skin), like: 

  • Stronger immune systems2
  • One study showed that asymptomatic heart failure patients who kept gratitude journals had reduced levels of inflammatory biomarkers. And we know inflammation is linked to acne, diseases, illnesses, and gut health

    • Lower blood pressure2

    Blood pressure is a major health marker for the body. Lower blood pressure means lower risk for many life-threatening conditions like heart attack, stroke, kidney problems, and even certain kinds of dementia.4 

    • More refreshing and longer sleep2

    Sleep is a critical time for your body to do internal healing work that prevents disease and illness and more – the benefits are endless. And if you’re a skin care junkie like us, you know that proper sleep is also linked to clear, radiant skin. ;)

    • Building stress resiliency2 

    Stress is a health epidemic across all generations in today’s culture.

    As you know, stress creates gut issues, which lead to skin irritation + rashes and breakouts, hormonal imbalances, and autoimmune conditions. And if aging gracefully is on your radar, know that your skin suffers from stress too. We love our friend Dr. Will Cole’s take on the connection between skin and stress

     "Chronic stress is one of the biggest contributors to premature aging. When you are stressed, your body releases high amounts of cortisol that end up breaking down your skin's collagen and elasticity, resulting in dull skin and wrinkles." 

    Not to mention, chronic stress makes your body go into fight or flight mode. Your body responds by prioritizing only the primal functions necessary for survival. In this “survival” mode, your body doesn’t direct energy towards things like clear skin or healthy hair. Gratitude, on the other hand, effortlessly calms your nervous system. 

    Gratitude doesn’t stop at the physical side of things. Gratitude benefits your mental + emotional state, too:

    • Gratitude is a learned mindset.

    If you prioritize gratitude practices in your life, the feeling builds on itself. Check out this quote from a Positive Psychology article:5

    “When we express gratitude and receive the same, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin, the two crucial neurotransmitters responsible for our emotions, and they make us feel ‘good’. They enhance our mood immediately, making us feel happy from the inside.
    By consciously practicing gratitude every day, we can help these neural pathways to strengthen themselves and ultimately create a permanent grateful and positive nature within ourselves.”
    • Gratitude creates a higher sense of self-worth.2

    The positive emotion of gratitude overflows into every area of your life – including how you feel about yourself. Anxiety, unhappiness, and depression contribute to neglecting personal care.6 But with more self-confidence, comes the motivation to take care of yourself.

    The best part? Gratitude isn’t far out of reach for you! And it’s free. ;) Embracing and expressing feelings of gratitude looks different for everyone, so we encourage you to find the ways that feel the most natural and effective for you. Here are some ideas to help you start prioritizing gratitude in your life – as the ultimate beauty hack.

    How to Embrace Feelings of Gratitude in Your Life

    This is admittedly a big topic. There are so many ways to express, feel, and embody gratitude. Regardless of how you might show or receive gratitude, there are some common threads. Here are some ideas on how you can incorporate gratitude into your daily rhythms and habits.

    Take Care of Your Body

    Think of taking care of your body as a thank-you to the vessel that carries you. But in turn, doing so will also support continued feelings of gratitude to yourself + the world around you. 

    • Sweat more! Movement is essential for your mental mindset, creating feel-good endorphins to help you maintain a grateful heart.7
    • Get better sleep. It’s essential for physical (and mental) health. And in turn, one study shows gratitude helps you sleep better.8 Start reducing your exposure to blue light and paying attention to circadian rhythms for better sleep.
    • Try cold therapy through a cold plunge or even just a cold shower. Studies show that the positive effects on your body and mood are legit.9

    Gratitude becomes second nature when you feel good physically. Another way to embrace gratitude: manage your stress levels.

    Manage Stress

    It’s impossible to completely eliminate stress from your life, but you can find a healthy balance. Eliminating excess stress goes a long way for the health of your gut, major organs, skin, hair, and general inflammation levels. A few simple ideas to unwind: 

    Managing stress helps you move negative thoughts out, and make room for grateful, positive thoughts. 

    Carve Out Time for Yourself

    Closely linked to managing stress, finding time for stillness and what brings you joy is essential. Take the time to do something for yourself every day. Choose to: 

    • Slow down and be present (less scrolling!)
    • Pray or Meditate (studies confirm this can even make you look younger.10)
    • Find time for a moment of stillness to just exist.
    • Focus on nose breathing to calm your nervous system.
    • Choose a meaningful morning routine to set the tone of your day.

    Finding ways to care for yourself a few moments each day will go a long way in helping you find the goodness in your life – regardless of how things seem

    Find Some Gratitude Practices You Enjoy 

    There’s a lot of power in a practice centered on noticing the good, positive things in your life. Here are a few of our favorite ideas for tangible gratitude practices:

    • Write a poem or create art – check out our esthetician’s poem on aging.
    • Make time for gratitude journaling whenever you can make room in your day.
    • Mail a thank you note to someone you appreciate.
    • Smile more! Smiling more is proven to make you feel happier.11

    Not only can these practices be fun, but you’ll also be glad you took the time to practice gratitude intentionally. Maybe you’ll inspire someone else. :

    Work on Your Self-talk 

    Positive self-talk sets the tone for gratitude. Gratitude starts with you, so if you’re kind to yourself, it creates more positive associations in your life. Keep in mind: 

    • You are your biggest critic – talk to yourself how your grandmother, a close friend, your mother, your significant other, etc., would talk to you. 
    • It’s not realistic to never have negative thoughts. That’s okay – you’re human. Leave space for negative thoughts, validate them, and then replace them with a gratitude-infused thought.
    • If you feel self-conscious, remind yourself that most people you encounter are more concerned about how they look than how you look. ;)

    When you speak to yourself kindly each day, gratefulness will follow. You’ll find more confidence and less insecurity.

    Look Outside Yourself

    Looking outside of yourself and your small world can be a refreshing reset. When we focus on others we can get out of our self-focused mindset and see the bigger picture. 

    • Bring a meal to your friend with a new baby.
    • Visit your elderly grandparent with a bouquet of fresh flowers.
    • Find a meaningful gift for someone’s birthday.
    • Smile at a stranger, just because.
    • Hold the door for someone at the grocery.

    When you take the time to help others and make someone else feel seen, your problems feel much smaller – and gratitude surfaces naturally. 

    Gratitude Heals Us, Inside + Out

    Science shows us – the emotions and thoughts you focus on change your reality, inside and out. In essence, what you behold is what you become. 

    When you choose to seek out beauty + goodness in your daily rhythms, not only do you start to notice more beauty, but you begin to embody beauty too.

    So as you begin each day anew, remember this: a natural overflow of gratitude benefits your entire body, from head to toe. ;) 



    1. Mindful.org|The Science of Gratitude
    2. Greater Good Magazine | Why Gratitude is Good
    3. National Library of Medicine | Examining the Pathways between Gratitude and Self-Rated Physical Health across Adulthood
    4. Mayo Clinic | High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) 
    5. Positive Psychology | The Neuroscience of Gratitude and Effects on the Brain
    6. Psychology Today | Are the Physically Attractive Also Happier?
    7. Harvard Health Publishing | How Simply Moving Benefits Your Mental Health
    8. Journal of Psychosomatic Research | Gratitude Influences Sleep through the Mechanism of Pre-sleep Cognitions
    9. Lifestyle Medicine | Improved Mood Following a Single Immersion in Cold Water
    10. EOC Institute | Look Younger: How Meditation Slows Skin Aging, Reduces Wrinkles, & More
    11. University of South Australia | When You’re Smiling, the Whole World Really Does Smile with You


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    Embody more beauty through one simple, positive emotion. How embracing gratitude benefits your entire body and your skin. | Primally Pure Skincare

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