Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Gratitude Improves Your Health

In the U.S. November marks the beginning of changing temperatures, celebrations, renewing friendships and gratitude, hence the Thanksgiving holiday season. Not that I am not grateful everyday. Just that some days I pay more attention to all the goodness, beauty and blessings in my life than others.

When you think about it health and happiness are really two of the most universal desires for all people and you are closer than you think or more likely you are what you think. You and no one else is the creator of your feelings and emotions. Each and every day you pick or design you life, either complete with gratefulness or otherwise.

There is something you can do daily to be happy and healthy, it is free. Add thoughts of gratitude. What you focus on surely grows. Focusing daily on the things for which you are thankful creates a feeling of abundance. Feelings of abundance not only improves how you see your life, it improves functioning of every part of your body right down to strengthening your immune system. Being grateful improves the quality of your life experience on a daily basis. Just think ... how you live today is important because all the days add up to weeks, all the weeks add up to years. When you look back over your life, what do you see?

University of California Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons' research indicates that "Grateful people take better care of themselves and engage in more protective health behaviors like regular exercise, a healthy diet, (and) regular physical examinations." His research finds that grateful people tend to be more optimistic, a characteristic that boosts the immune system.

"A growing body of research supports the notion that rediscovering a sense of abundance by thinking about those people and things we love lowers the risks of coronary events," offers clinical psychologist Blair Justice, Ph.D., professor-emeritus of psychology at the UT School of Public Health at Houston.

Justice practices a gentle daily examination.

"At the end of the day, I ask myself three questions."

* "What has surprised me?"
* "What has touched me?"
* "What has inspired me?"

He says that "hard-bitten folks have trouble finding beauty or seeing life anew in a daily way, and their arteries and immune system suffer for it." Answering these three questions inspires us to see the stuff of our days through fresh eyes.

When you come right down to it. Being grateful could save your life.

When I was young my dad used to always say..."it's always the little things that really matter, because all the little things add up to the big things and then it is too late."

Maybe he was right ...and for that I am grateful.

What are you grateful for?

No comments: