For the last four years or so, I have been practicing saying “Thank You” to at least one person daily. Sometimes it’s an email, or a call, or a snail mail, or even flowers. It was so easy at first. But after a while, it became a challenge. It became a very deliberate choice that required some thinking. But I stuck to it. And one day at a time, it changed me. I can’t really tell you how, but it totally did. I simply feel better in my body.
Thankfulness has a way of focusing me on what I have rather than what is lacking in my life. Even if it may have felt a little “fake” at first, my mental state of thankfulness became stronger with practice. And it seriously has done my body good!
Just the other day, I came across a couple of researches supporting an association between gratitude and our general well-being. Other studies have looked at how gratitude can improve relationships, including work relationships.
The health of our bodies truly has everything to do with the wellness of our minds. Many scientific research is now indicating that positive emotions have beneficial effects on our health by strengthening our immune system. A mental state of gratitude releases endorphins in our bodies, and endorphins are good for you. They are our body’s natural painkillers; they stimulate dilation of the blood vessels, which leads to a relaxed heart. On the other hand, negative emotions slow down the movement of disease-fighting white cells in our bloodstream and contribute to the development of stroke and heart disease by dumping lots of adrenaline in our bloodstream, which constrict blood vessels and raise blood pressure. I know this is an over-simplified explanation, but this is the bottom line: thankfulness does a body good!
Wanna give it a try?
- You can do it like I did: just decide to thank one person every day–thank you note, phone call, facebook message–it all counts!
- Keep a Thankfulness Journal: write one thing daily you are thankful for
- My husband and I share three things with each other most nights that we are thankful for that day; it can be as simple as the sun shining or a tasty apple. This exercise helps us keep things in balance on difficult days.
Would you be willing to take a 30 day challenge? Just 30… let’s see what happens! Deal?