Gratitude is something I think about a lot. Lately I’ve been thinking about it less as something I feel like I should do and more as a solution to whatever is going poorly in my life. Often when I start to feel upset, if I look at the situation I’ll realize that the cause of my negative feeling, thought or sensation is a tunnel like focus on something negative. When I’m able to broaden my focus to what I’m grateful for, new opportunities always begin to appear in the periphery.
This isn’t always easy if your attention is easily drawn to negative thoughts, feelings, or sensations, so sometimes it’s better to take a break from the negative subject all together rather than to try and re-spin the negativity as positive. After spending some time focusing on what I have to be grateful for, when I return to the subject that’s vexing me, I’ll often feel better about it.
Over the Thanksgiving weekend I received this email about Gratitude from a stranger, Dave Faagau. I couldn’t have said it better myself, so I’m reposting it here. I hope you enjoy it.
Happy Thanksgiving. I hope your holiday season brings you much to be thankful for.
Here’s his email:
Most people do no realize the many health benefits of gratitude. Studies indicate that thankfulness is directly linked to physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Compared to people who do not live a lifestyle of thankfulness, research shows that grateful people
1. Experience higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination optimism and energy
2. Experience less depression
3. Better manage stress
4. Are more likely to help others
5. Exercise more regularly
6. Make more progress towards their personal goals
7. Have stronger immune systems
8. Have fewer symptoms of physical illness
Those are some impressive benefits that can be yours without even increasing your physical activity or changing your nutrition plan. All that is required is a grateful heart. Are you a thankful person? If you are unsure, then it may be in your best interest to consider the following questions:
Are you the type of person who dwells on the good or on the bad things that happen to you?
Do you tell others about the blessings in your life as much as you tell them when things go wrong?
Are you considerate of the people closest to you or do you often take them for granted?
Are you thankful only when things are going well or do you look for blessings even when bad things happen?
Is there someone you admire who is a thankful person? What other attributes do you admire about them?
Are you leaving a legacy of thankfulness that others will remember you by?
There is nothing complicated about gratitude. Quite simply, thankfulness is a choice. To say we fell grateful is not to say that everything in our life is great. It just means that in spite of all we see that is worthy of complaint, there is far more we can choose to focus on that is worthy of thankfulness.
Why not choose to extend the tradition of giving thanks through the entire year, instead of limiting it to the Holiday Season? You're physical, emotional, and spiritual health will all reap the benefits of a thankful heart. The choice is yours.
By Dave Faagau, a Fitness Specialist and owner of Total Body Training