What will you be thinking about when the clock strikes midnight on December 31st ? Will you recall 2014 and anticipate 2015, with gratitude or grumbling? To kick off the New Year and make it a good one, why not put more gratitude as number one on your self-improvement, to-do list? It’s good for your health.
There’s growing evidence that gratitude makes you a more satisfied, happier, less stressed or depressed person. Grateful people actually sleep better because they think more positive and less negative thoughts at night. They also have more constructive ways of coping with life’s difficulties. They complain less, and spend more time working on resolving any problems. In short, being a grateful person helps you live a happy, healthy life.
Gratitude, more than any other character trait, is thought to have the strongest links with good health. Considered as a universal sentiment, it has long been prized in the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist traditions. But being a truly grateful type-of-person, doesn’t just happen. It takes regular practice.
– Exercise your “mental gratitude muscle” more. Flex it right through the day. Even, “Under affliction in the very depths, stop and contemplate what you have to be grateful for”. (The Mary Baker Eddy Collection)
– Boost the health-bringing quality of gratitude each morning with words such as, “I’m grateful for the day ahead, the people I’ll meet, and for the good that will come my way.” At night, give thanks for three “heart-lifting”, joy-bringing things that occurred during the day.
– Start-up a gratitude list. Add at least one more thing to it every day. For example, “I’m grateful that my teenager tidied his room today without being asked to do so.”
– Make meal-time an occasion for conversation that bubbles over with gratitude for the positive things that occurred during the day, rather than a “complaint session”.
The trouble with complaining about others and grumbling over their shortcomings, is that it tends to obscure the good that’s right at hand. This is illustrated by the story of a speaker who showed his audience a large sheet of white card with one tiny black dot on it. He asked them what they saw. Each said a black dot. No one mentioned all the white on the card!
– Make an effort to boost your gratitude-levels. Don’t focus on negatives. Use your “gratitude-lens” to see more of the good around you.
– Complain less. Appreciate every person’s contribution more. This could include the volunteers who help school children cross the road safely, or the local barista who cares enough to make your coffee just the way you like it.
– Express your gratitude to others through your grace, kind words and actions.
– Be thankful for the good already received. Take advantage of the blessings you have, and “thus be fitted to receive more.” (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health p. 3)
– Remember, more gratitude is good for your health.
I’m a professional Christian Science Practitioner and Teacher. Through my prayer-based practice, I help people find happiness, health and healing. As a writer on the connection between spirituality and health I share inspiring can-do tips and ideas.