The Health Benefits of Saying Thanks
The devastating events in Newtown, CT in the last week have given us all cause to stop and re-evaluate and remember what we hold most dear in our lives. Developing a gratitude practice is one way to begin to heal and reconnect with what is really important to us
Research has suggested that individuals who are grateful in their daily lives actually report fewer stress related health symptoms, including headaches, gastrointestinal issues, chest pain, muscle aches, and appetite problems. Grateful people are also more content because they don’t spend a lot of time comparing themselves with others. Being grateful connects us to others in a positive and meaningful way that leaves no room for depression, anger and negative energy.
Now that we can appreciate the importance of gratitude in our lives, how can we make it happen? The first step is to understand that it’s more than saying thanks for something that happened to us or celebrating at holidays - it’s a whole way of looking at the world.
There are a variety of ways to increase an attitude of gratitude in our lives. Here are a few to get started:
- Practice meditation, yoga, or prayer. Anything that increases focus on the present moment will help increase gratitude.
- Re-frame your thinking. Get in the habit of saying “I am grateful” or “thank you” statements for everything that goes on in your life. It gets you in the habit of not judging.
- Do something for someone else. There is strong evidence that suggests that helping other people actually helps us focus on the blessings in our own lives. Do a good deed and it will come back to you.
- Begin a gratitude notebook. Every night before you go to sleep jot down the things, big and small, that you are grateful for.
If your mind chatter tells you that you have nothing to be grateful for, stop and ask yourself if that is true. Then ask if it is really true. Then start counting your blessings. The more attention you give them, the more they will multiply.
Coming in January 2013, Creating Wellness® Over 40, a virtual group wellness coaching program for women over 40. For more information go to www.MyraOneyHealthCoaching.com
Myra Oney is an AADP Certified Health and Wellness Coach at the Ajna Wellness Center in Croton on Hudson. She is dedicated to providing information and services to people who are serious about creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. She is available to speak and give workshops to community groups and businesses, as well as for individual and group coaching. For more information go to her website www.MyraOneyHealthCoaching.com or email her at Myra@MyraOneyHealthCoaching.com