Did you ever realize that gratitude is good for your health?
Two years ago, I wrote a blog called What I Wish I Had Said On Thanksgiving. That year, my husband surprised me by inviting one of our newlywed nephews to share a prayer. He then asked everyone to share a moment of gratitude. There were 34 family members gathered, so this made for a wonderful memory!
The only regret I had was that I didn’t say what I wanted to say. It was only later that I realized the message I wanted to share: that it’s one thing to think of our blessings, but equally important to acknowledge our challenges. By intentionally bringing a spirit of thanksgiving to our difficulties, we honor those times that have made us stronger, more flexible, more understanding, and more resilient.
But I missed my opportunity to say that.
This year, I resolved that I wouldn’t have the same regret. So as my family gathered before the meal (a total of 35 people this year!), I talked about a recent NPR program I’d heard that acknowledged how hard it is to be grateful when it seems as if everything around us is falling apart, but also examined the many benefits, one being that gratitude is good for your health.
The key to using gratitude to enhance your health is to activate the vibration of appreciation in your energetic body.
Here are the 2 simple steps I shared with my family for making gratitude a powerful agent for healing:
- Think of one thing for which you are grateful. Focusing on a positive thought is an important first step and helps take the emphasis off the things in your life that might be distressing. But, the energy of the thought at this stage is primarily in your head until you take Step 2.
- As you think about that one thing you are grateful for, begin to notice why you are grateful. What are the circumstances around that thing that generate appreciation? What feelings are evoked? Notice how the energy of that thought drops down into your heart as it becomes a feeling. This is powerful energetically because the energy of gratitude expands from your heart and then fills every cell in your body, as well as your psyche and spirit.
Once you’ve achieved the feeling tone of gratitude, imagine that you are able to go through each day knowing this feeling exists and is present, at some level, in every situation. This simple awareness can help diminish challenges and amplify blessings.
How does this subtle shift encourage healing? I like this image: think of two hands joined. One hand is cold, stiff, and tense, the other is warm, soft, and gentle. As the two hands join, the energies merge and the cold stiff hand softens, coming to a place of ease, comfort, and vitality. This is the power of gratitude. Gratitude is good for your health and it’s a worthy practice all year long.
To listen to the NPR podcast, go to 1A with Joshua Johnson November 20, 2017 “It’s So Hard to be Grateful”