“What if you woke up today with only the things you were grateful to God for yesterday”
This gives food for thought. How many of us go through life with an attitude of gratitude. Yet this is one thing you can do for your health that will benefit you more than anything else. A grateful soul is a happy soul. Happiness, joy and laughter are the greatest healers of all time.
"Thousands of years of literature talk about the benefits of cultivating gratefulness as a virtue," says University of California Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons.
"Grateful people take better care of themselves and engage in more protective health behaviors like regular exercise, a healthy diet," Emmons tells WebMD.
"There are some very interesting studies linking optimism to better immune function," says Lisa Aspinwall, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Utah.
"Gratitude research is beginning to suggest that feelings of thankfulness have tremendous positive value in helping people cope with daily problems, especially stress," Emmons says.
“When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies in yourself.” -Tecumseh, Shawnee leader
“Gratitude is a vaccine, an antitoxin, and an antiseptic.” — John Henry Jowett
Can gratitude really help you live longer and healthier? Ample evidence suggests that hopelessness and despair can adversely impact the endocrine and immune systems, even hastening death. Conversely, being an optimist may help reduce your risk of dying from heart attack and other causes. A recent study at Mayo clinic found evidence suggesting that pessimists live shorter lives than optimists. People who scored high on optimism (measured on personality tests 30 years before) had a 50 percent lower risk of premature death than those who tested out as being more pessimistic.
A Dutch study reported that “optimistic” elderly men and women had a 55 percent lower risk of death from all causes and a 23 percent lower risk of cardiovascular death than pessimists. One of the most direct links between gratitude and optimism is shown in the “Nun Study” by David Snowdon, professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Kentucky Medical School. In his now-famous research, Snowdon found “the more positive emotions expressed in the life stories of these nuns (contentment, gratitude/thankfulness, happiness, hope and love), the more likely they were to still be alive six decades later.
If you do not have gratitude in your life, it is time to start. Gratitude is a habit. Here are some tips on how to achieve it. 1. Have a gratitude journal. There is power in writing things down. Every day, write 5 things you are grateful for. Every day, read all of them before you start your day. 2. Look for the little things. Be grateful for having a warm bed, for having toothpaste to brush your teeth with, for having a green light on your way to work, for your car that started this morning, etc. Pretty soon you will see the ‘big” things you need to be grateful for. 3. Surround yourself by people who display an attitude of gratitude 4. Laugh everyday as much as you can. 5. Make it a game to find all the good things in your life, all the blessings. Like a “where’s Waldo” but instead “where’s the good stuff”. 6. Give!!! Helping others makes you grateful for what you have in your life. 7. Make the choice to become grateful. Attitudes are very much a decision, conscious or unconscious. Make you’re a conscious one.