"We found that more gratitude in such people was associated with better mood, better sleep, less fatigue and lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers related to cardiac health," explained lead author Paul J. Mills, professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California, San Diego.

The study involved 186 men and women who had been diagnosed with asymptomatic (Stage B) heart failure for at least three months. Stage B consists of patients who have developed structural heart disease but do not show symptoms of heart failure.Using standard psychological tests, the researchers obtained scores for gratitude and spiritual well-being.

They then compared those scores with the patients' scores for depressive symptom severity, sleep quality, fatigue, self-efficacy (belief in one's ability to deal with a situation) and inflammatory markers.They found higher gratitude scores were associated with better mood, higher quality sleep, more self-efficacy and less inflammation.

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