Gratitude comes from the Latin word, gratia, which can mean grace, gratefulness or graciousness. Gratitude encompasses all those elements, and is the state of being grateful for something that one has received.
For many people, gratitude becomes a focus during the holidays, but takes a backseat during the rest of the year. Studies have shown, however, that living a life of gratitude can change your entire well-being.
Research has shown exactly how powerful gratitude can be. According to psychologists, gratitude can have a profound effect on mental health. Many studies show that gratitude can reduce depression and raise happiness levels.
In addition, it can reduce aggression and increase empathy. Beyond the emotional and mental benefits of gratitude, being grateful can improve your physical health.
How can you show gratitude for your health?
Thank your body. Sounds quirky, right? But evidence shows
that your thoughts and attitudes have an astonishing effect. If you start with appreciation for your body, your attitude towards it will improve, causing your health to improve. It’s a win-win.
Put your hand over your heart. Breathe deeply for a minute, focusing your attention on the rhythm of your heartbeat. Do you realize that your heart will beat over 3,000,000 times in your lifetime? You take approximately 23,000 breaths a day. Your body is a powerhouse machine that is constantly working for your benefit. Its amazing functions operate without you even realizing it. Thank your heart for its steadfastness and reliability. Each day, focus on a different part of your body and raise your awareness of how it works. As you begin to appreciate what your body does, it will help your attitude towards your body improve. As a result, your sense of self improves, which can have a cascading positive impact on your life.
Keep the right perspective. We all have areas of our body that we wish were different. Your nose may be too small. Your thighs too large. Remember, however, that while you wish your thighs were smaller, someone else is wishing they could make it walking all the way around the block. Your body and health isn’t perfect? That’s perfectly okay. Accept the things you can’t change, and work on the things you can improve. When you keep your health in perspective, you’ll realize you have much for which to be grateful.
Savour the little things. Love the feel of the sun on your face? Thank your skin for recognizing the warmth. Love when wind blows through your hair? Thank your hair for moving so freely. Thrill over the smell of garlic? That’s your nose at work. These little moments can be overlooked unless you train yourself to pause and show gratitude for them when they occur.
Take care of your health. One of the best ways to show gratitude for your health? Nurture and cultivate it. With regular care, your body can help you enjoy years of fulfillment. Eating correctly, participating in regular physical activity and getting enough rest can go a long way in keeping your body in tip-top shape.
Ready to improve your physical health? Start with gratitude. What will you be thankful for today?