Gratitude and health

Last month the Hindu world celebrated Diwali, a festival of light. Last week the USA celebrated yet another Thanksgiving Day and December is the month when many of us around the world celebrate either Christmas or Hannukah. Common to all festivities is the theme of lighting the dark  and showing love and gratitude.

Gratitude has it's roots in many of the world's religions. However, the issue of gratitude has more recently caught the imagination of the secular world, as we now have studies that support the many health benefits of gratitude and it's relationship to happiness and psychological well being.

A  leading expert in the  field of positive psychologies and  gratitude is Dr Robert Emmons, who has written extensively about the role of gratitude and good health. From his studies some of the health benefits associated with being grateful are improvements to -

  • Mood
  • Anxiety 
  • Aggression

Also, the evidence confirms that people who are grateful focus less on aches and pains and show improvements to -

  • Blood pressure
  • Sleep
  • Resilience 
  • Immunity 

Grateful people are also thought to be more more optimistic and altruistic.

Over the last year I've discovered that being grateful is a state of mind which is well worth cultivating. Last year I had some  health issues, which made me address the direction of my life. On reflection, I am grateful for the insights that this experience taught me. So, if you have an illness or are experiencing a problem of some kind with your health, ask yourself whether your body is trying to tell you something. Listen and be grateful for any messages that you receive. I know  I was.

So it seems that there is some wisdom in the  old adage "be grateful for small mercies". For my part I'm going to get better at wanting  all that I have and being grateful for it. Gratitude is in some way our light in the universe. It enables us to live our lives to the full and to reap the rewards of all that the universe has in store for us. Give gratitude a try. Maybe start a gratitude diary. Keep track of progress,  note any benefits and give thanks for all of it. Then see how the wonders of the universe opens out to you in abundance.

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