Gratitude – one of the best health tonics around 

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others."

Cicero

 

 

I often remember with fondness, the times we as children would sit by my mother round the fire

as she knitted her latest cardigan and she’d tell us stories or sing to us. We had no electricity in

those days, 1950s, and the light was from one Tilley paraffin lamp, first invented in 1813.

 

One song always tugged at me, “Count your blessings name them one by one.” It was the

naming them one by one that most struck a chord. It wasn’t enough just to be grateful, but to

identify each and every thing or person for which we were grateful.

 

Childhood, all the way through to age 16, was seldom easy, certainly not a bed of roses but my

parents were always doing their best, with all the knowledge, awareness, experience and love

that they knew how. They taught me many lessons, gave us birthdays and Christmases to

remember, nursed wounds and encouraged us in many ways.

 

There is so much to be grateful for.

 

In gratitude, we acknowledge the goodness, or Godness, in our lives. Sometimes this will be for things outside of ourselves, things we have, people in our lives. But being grateful also is about what we hold within, not just our fond good memories, or gratitude for what we hold in our hearts, but also for our connectedness to other people, to nature, to a power greater than ourselves, whatever we may call it.

 

What does gratitude mean to you?

 

Do you express gratitude for what you have? And if so how? And how sincere is your expression of thanks?

 

Do you feel gratitude even when things are not going your way, for the seeming “bad” moments in life?

 

Gratitude and health

 

There is much in the annals of research that testify to the positive benefits of the regular practice of gratitude. These include: -

 

  • Better sleep

  • More energy

  • Better able to more calmly handle the stresses of life

  • Increased creativity

  • More connectedness to others and to life – less aloneness

  • Enhanced consistent sense of wellness and well-being

  • Improved heart health

  • Greater happiness and positivity

  • More positive life experiences and outcomes

  • Stronger immune system – greater ability to manage infections                                                                        and and promote good health 

  • More balanced emotions

  • Heightened self-esteem and confidence

  • A pleasure to be around therefore quality relationships

  • Easier to bounce back from set backs

 

We tend to take our health for granted until we're suddenly in the throes of pain or debilitating illness. And only when faced with the “dark night” do people who claim not to be religious suddenly start praying. Funny that, eh? Go for years not  believing then suddenly when in deep doo dah we cry out for help.

 

So what is gratitude?

 

Gratitude -   the quality or feeling or demonstration of being grateful or thankful.

 

What we think are the little things in life are actually, when seen through the lens of gratitude, often the most meaningful.

 

A lot of the gloom people tell me of in their lives is often rooted in their perceived sense of “not having” or of lack. Well, you may currently lack the good job, the good relationship, the perfect life, but you could be grateful for your freedom to choose, your skills and abilities that will help you succeed, your qualities of perseverance and dedication. And if you have your health, even with a disability, if you have your mental faculties, then you have what it takes to turn your life around. You don’t have to stay stuck in the rut.

 

So why not start appreciating things and people NOW and then being grateful for the capacities allowed by good health eg

 

  • Ability to work, relax, and play

  • The wonderful people in your life

  • The physical ability to breathe, think, move, care for yourself

  • The wonders of nature

  • The money to make choices

  • The ability to earn money

  • The grace and blessings of your higher power

 

 

Amazing Grace – an opportunity each time you eat!

 

How often, I wonder, do people still give thanks before tucking into their meal?

 

Some have told me how they easily forget to practise gratitude but most of us, at least

three times a day, have ample opportunities to practise – through saying grace.

 

I am encouraged whenever people care enough to pray before they eat but I have often asked of some, “Why do we say grace and what are we doing when we do?”

 

Usually responses are shades of, “giving thanks for the food we are about to eat.” This is often the mindless and habitual way we have been taught, if indeed we have been taught, to say grace. It’s something of a tradition. I certainly don’t recall at home or at school being told why I was bowing my head and saying the Lord’s prayer. I thought by bowing my head I was looking at my food!

So the simple prayer, “Bless this food and us to the service” is often said robotically.

 

T.S. Eliot once said, that “a tradition without intelligence is not worth having”, and for many this is what spirituality is about – the rote repetition of words with little mindfulness as to the power, purpose and meaning of the words.

I would rather people said something rather than nothing, but imagine the energy and power our words would have if we gave them true meaning.

 

Now bear with if I get a tad Christian biblical to explain my point.

 

In the New Testament there are two words which Jesus used when He prayed over a meal… the Greek word eulogeo, which means to “speak well of” or “praise” and the Greek term eucharisteo, meaning to “be thankful” or “offer thanks”. As he said these words Jesus would look upwards, to heaven, thus indicating he was giving thanks to His Father for the food about to eaten. Some say he was not blessing the food, simply thank His father for the food. But why get pedantic, he was both praising and giving thanks to the provider for the provision.

 

Thoughts are energy, and travel across space and time. So how would it be if we were to move away, if we must, from the biblical reference and in simple every day terms, simply to speak well of and give thanks to ALL involved in the provision of our culinary nourishment…. From the Divine in all, the farmers, the earth, the sunk the rain, the producers, the preparers, the servers, and to our Divine given ability within to enjoy and benefit from our food.

 

Why wouldn’t you want to give thanks to that fantastic resource for bringing food to your table?

 

If you never say “thank you” why should the world give you more?

OK, you may get embarrassed or remonstrate that this is too religious. It isn’t.

 

If the only prayer you ever say is “thank you” that will be enough.”  Eckhart Tolle Counsellor and Spiritual Teacher

 

The human mind in man, is a field of energy –centralized in the brain but not confined to the physical body. The energies of the mind, our thoughts and beliefs, whether just thought, written or spoken, reach out beyond the body and make telepathic contact with people, as well as objects. They operate on different wavelengths or frequencies, each one corresponding to a particular emotion and nature of thought going on within us at any given time. So, if we hold in our hearts the thought that we are grateful to all those in our lives, whatever they give us, that thought is carried on a wavelength out into the world.

 

What would you rather have around you? Wavelengths and frequencies of peoples’ negative energies, or their positive ones? Would you rather live in a fog of bleakness and misery or crystal clear air of positivity and light?

 

Planting and Growing an Attitude of Gratitude - Some How To’s

 

Your future health and happiness depend largely on the thoughts you think and the actions you take today. (How your life is today was created by thoughts of yesterday, and the day before that etc.)

 

Each moment of every day is a new opportunity to turn your life around, by turning around your thinking and how you behave.

This is not about being an infuriatingly happy bunny twenty-four seven! Even generally happy people do not experience joy and bliss 24 hours a day. It’s possible to have a bad-hair day AND still be grateful for seemingly small things that day. “God, thank you for just giving me hair, bad or otherwise!”

 

So:-

 

KISS it!  Keep it straightforwardly simple – become aware of the people, events, things in your life that you truly appreciate and simply and silently in your heart say “thank you.”

 

Up a gear, tell people how grateful you are by simply saying, “Thank you.” Or sometimes a smile says it all!

 

Up another gear and tell them what it is about them or what they have done for you that you appreciate. (People will feel good, it does their health good, and they may too adopt the habit and pass it on!)

 

 

Keep a special journal solely for the purpose of recording your gratitude moments. At the end of the day, or at least a point in the day that becomes regular, simply write something like:-

 

Today I appreciated  xxxx     for  

Today, what I appreciated about myself was xxxxx

Consider buying an inexpensive journal - perhaps one with daily inspirations. Link takes you to Amazon.co.uk; this one to Waterstones UK  or consider supporting your local bookstore.

 

Such a journal can have far-reaching consequences. Some studies have said that people who regularly record their gratitudes have more energy, more get-up-and-go and fewer doctors’ visits.

 

Remember:- Record what’s right and working not what’s wrong and isn’t. In your journal do NOT record anything that is negative. Noticed the simple mistake? In your journal record only the positive!

 

Start each day with a simple gratitude meditation – focusing on about 3 (or more but keep it simple!) things or people you are grateful for both big and small.

 

Let it flow from your heart.

 

Start and/or end each day by thinking of something or someone you're grateful for is one

way to keep your mind on the right track.

 

By focusing on what's good right now, what you have right now, right now in this present

moment, you become more open to receive even more to be grateful for. If I am your friend

or colleague and never thank you for all you do for me, are you likely to continue be giving

toward me?

 

Remember to say "thank you" — to yourself, the Universe, and others, for yourself, the

Universe, and others.

 

Thank you for reading!

Want to know more on how to be a grateful, happy human being - then head over to

the happier human website.

Exercise

Light up

the World

with

Gratitude

Give GRATITUDE

for this day, this moment

Piglet noticed that even though he

had a Very Small Heart, it could hold

a rather large amount of

Gratitude.

A.A. Milne

 

 

                     A daily gratitude workout

 

                           Gratitude of all shapes and sizes adds an enormous amount of positive energy into you, and outwardly it blesses the

                           world.   Gratitude, Love, and forgiveness make the world go round.

                           When you think and express gratitude, the Divine knows, God hears you, the Source burns more brightly, and like a

                            boomerang, your gratitude comes back multiplied.

Make today a gratitude day. Not just for this moment of now. But for throughout the day.

Here are 10 simple gratitude guidelines to help you on your path:

 

  1. On awakening, give gratitude for the night’s rest you have just had. Thank your body for seeing you in to a new day.

  2. Give gratitude for the new day and another opportunity to rise and shine and be the best you you can be.

  3. Use mealtimes to say a gratitude prayer. It doesn’t have to be a full-on religious experience, full of religious speak. It can be as simple as, “In this moment, I am grateful for this meal.” Then take a few moments just to be aware of your gratitude.

  4. Or extend your thanks, “I give thanks to all those involved in the chain of helping me put this meal before me – farmers, fisher people, all involved in the food chain, truck drivers, supermarkets, stores assistants, my ability to earn money to afford this meal.”

  5. Set up a weekly practice. (If you take on too much, for too long, it may be overwhelming.) But just for a week, each day, list one thing or person you’re grateful for.

  6. Extend that practice – aim to find each day one thing from each key life area that you are grateful for- relationships, finances, leisure, security, home, health, family etc.

  7. Extend even further – and speak a thank you to every body part that you can think of; it may be to your legs for getting you safely home at the end of the day, or to your liver and kidneys for processing that festive meal you overindulged in, or your inner senses for helping you see the reality of a certain situation.

  8. Give thanks to those, if you know or sense them, in the invisible realms for all their help, support, and protection – to the Divine, to Angels, to Spirit, to relatives who have passed over.

  9. Say thank you to the trees, the birds, others in the animal kingdom.

  10. Say thanks to life…for life.

 

If you struggle to think of anything, then spend some time reflecting on the following:-

 

  1. What am I good at? Do I have hidden talents? Do I genuinely honour and appreciate my gifts?

  2. What do I really like about myself, inside and out, no matter how trivial it may seem?

  3. What do I look forward to in life? And how do I give thanks?

  4. What is challenging in my life and what strengths is it giving me? What am I learning from it? Let me give thanks to the challenges.

  5. Who are the people close to me, that I like and love, and what is it I value about them? Let me say thanks to them in my imagination. Better still, let me find ways to really let them know of my gratitude to them for having them in my life.

  6. I so love the welcome I get from my pet (J) when I come home? Do I express my thanks loud and often enough … through expression, gaze, attention, touch?

  7. How do I earn my living? What do I appreciate about it? Who at work am I particularly grateful for? How might I express my gratitude? It may be a simple prayer, “I am really grateful that J had my back today during those difficult moments.” Or better still, I let J know how grateful I truly am.

  8. What about moments of fun and colour and inspiration during the day? There was that awe-inspiring, clear, blue sky last night, the golden sunset, the gushing waterfall – in the moment, I breathe in and feel and just say, “Thank you!”

  9. Or it may be a speaker at a conference, someone in a café, who said something that so inspires me. Let me speak my thanks.

  10. What do I like about where I live? My neighbours, the neighbourhood, the facilities, the ease of getting around.

 

The Universe gives us myriad opportunities every day to find things to be grateful for; they are endless. And they don’t have to be big.

Be grateful for all the little things…the “thank you’s” from friends, the unexpected kindnesses, the sun that gives you Vitamin D, the rain that cleanses and rinses, the snow that paints magical landscapes, the moon that sparkles on the landscapes, and everything in between.

Wash yourself in gratitude.   As you shower, imagine each drop of water is an expression of gratitude from you, to you. Gratitude for being, for making it to the shower, for having money to pay for the hot water, for a new day, for the air you breathe, for the clothes, for the events that lay in front of you, for the chances to be the best version of you possible.

Shower others with gratitude. Say thank you often, and mean it, to those you meet today. If they are not present except in your thoughts, still thank them.

Voice your thanks for….. 

The Universe is always grateful for you.

Thank you ...  thank you ...  thank you!

Links

Gratitude and Health

Gratitude - a more mystical yet natural perspective by Br. David Steindl Rast

Gratitude - Dr Mercola

© 2017,2018,2019,2020 by Andrew Hunter

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