The Healing Power of Gratitude
- Wednesday, 24 April 2013
We live in a culture today that is becoming increasingly out of balance.
Each day presents itself with more to do and what seems like less time to accomplish it in. In fact, it’s rare today to find someone who isn’t struggling to balance time, money, work, and family, all while attempting to maintain their own needs, health and wellness.
We’re bombarded by stress from every direction, ranging from physical inactivity to constant anxiety about money, career, and relationships. Adding to the stress are all the toxic products we expose our body to through what we eat and drink because we don’t have time to prepare a healthy meal. Eventually, our stressful life leads to physical, mental, and emotional imbalances.
An estimated 90 percent of all doctor visits are for stress-related aliments. Evidence shows that today’s biggest health challenges are cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity – all conditions that are often linked to living in a state of constant stress. This constant stress and lack of balance will almost certainly lead to some form of pain or physical condition for which we need to seek medical advice. In this way, pain can actually be a blessing because it creates awareness that our body is out of balance and needs a change.
Thankfully, stress is not so much a result of what is going on in our life as it is about how we perceive those things. The beauty here is we have some control over how we perceive the world around us. Many highly-effective modalities exist to help bring balance back to the body. We can seek to balance the nervous system through chiropractic adjustments, the meridians through acupuncture, or the blood chemistry using nutritional supplements, herbs, and homeopathic remedies. Exercise and mindfulness are also effective ways to return balance to the body, thus restoring health physically, mentally, and emotionally.
But one of the most powerful ways to return balance to the body is through the constant practice of gratitude. By beginning to see everything in our life as a blessing and learning to become grateful not only for the wonderful things in our life, but also the most challenging, we can begin to dissolve the “charge” associated with a stressful situation. Changing worry to gratitude dramatically affects the way our body responds to stress.
Robert Emmons, Ph.D., and professor at the University of California, Davis, has written the first major scientific study on gratitude, its causes, and potential impact on human health. In his work entitled Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier. Dr. Emmons concluded that “grateful people experience higher levels of positive emotions such as joy, enthusiasm, love, happiness, and optimism, and the practice of gratitude as a discipline protects a person from the destructive impulses of envy, resentment, greed, and bitterness.”
Further benefits of practicing gratitude include an increased ability to cope with stress, a stronger immune function leading to quicker recovery from illness, and an increased feeling of connectedness, which helps to improve relationships.
Love and gratitude are two of the most powerful of healers. By looking for the blessings in every person and event in our life, we will begin to dissolve feelings of fear and guilt, bringing more ease and well-being to our body and mind.
In his book The Gratitude Effect, Dr. John Demartini recommends beginning and ending your day with a “gratitude” journal. Even spending just a few moments each day in a state of gratitude can have a transformational effect on our lives. Living this way helps us replace fear, anxiety and worry with joy, happiness, and peace, resulting in a healthier and more balanced body and mind. Let’s face it, stress is here to stay, so we must learn how to better adapt and respond to it.
Try spending a few moments a day practicing gratitude and see how your life can be transformed.
Photo Credit: marynbtol