When we think about our health, we think in terms of what we’re eating, what we’re drinking, how much we’re exercising — but we rarely think about our health being related to what we think about.
If this is not something you consider regularly, start really digging deep into the idea that your thoughts, your attitude, and your mental tone have an incredible amount of power over your health.
The best place to start is with gratitude. We all have something to be grateful for, so it’s the perfect place to begin. Here’s why gratitude is so essential to your health…
- It boosts feelings of satisfaction
Put it in writing. Get out your thank you cards and write. Write to your kids’ teachers, your parents, your spouse or you best friend. Writing letters of gratitude will make you feel so good inside and out, and you will bring joy and gratitude to the people you write to as well.
- It builds relationships
Find ways to squeeze in a thank you for those things people do that you appreciate. When your kids or your spouse load the dishwasher for you — express your gratitude. I know it’s not always the ‘right’ way, but acknowledging them when they are willing to help will encourage them to keep it up…and maybe even try a bit harder. Mainly, it will reduce your stress by seeing and focusing on the good in things.
- It helps your mental wellness
Taking a moment to be thankful for the things you have, even in the midst of problems and challenges…..especially in the midst of problems and challenges! It is good for your mental health and well-being to break away from the stress of anxiety and irritation. By taking a second to see the good as well, we can dilute those bad stress chemicals with good ones. In spite of all that, sometimes it can still be hard to see the good side of things in life. Keeping a journal and writing things down when you feel low can bring you a smile later on, when you flip through it and find pleasant memories. As an added bonus, it can improve your energy levels as well.
- You’ll sleep better
When you find things to be grateful for instead of focusing on the negativity, it allows your mind to relax. This, in turn, leads to better sleep. Try using a gratitude meditation before you go to bed. Just close your eyes and see the good things that happened during the day. It’s not about repressing the problems, forget that. It’s about creating focus on things that make you feel good.
- It can help you with your exercise too
When you decide to recognize the things that bring you joy, of course you feel happier! This gives you more energy, and makes those workouts much easier to tackle. Sometimes the only thing we need is the motivation to START the workout, and a positive attitude helps get you there.
Don’t think this means you have to be upbeat and positive all the time. All of our emotions are real, necessary, and deserve to be honored.
When my son passed away in 2007 I thought I would never, ever feel good again. It was a trauma that persisted for years, changed everything about me and altered the very dynamics of my life.
It wasn’t until I began forcing myself to acknowledge that there were still blessings in my life, even though I did not feel blessed at all, that I began to break free of the all consuming stronghold that complicated grief had over me.
We all have negative emotions that are appropriate reactions to the circumstances in our lives. We should never repress our true feelings about anything! The problem is that negativity has the tendency to hog the stage and make any good thoughts difficult.
Choosing to practice gratitude daily will gradually lessen the impact of both the small and the gargantuan events that are part of life. We cannot wish them away or magically protect ourselves from them, they are simply part of the human experience.
So let’s start practicing now!