I have been feeling really grateful lately and it reminds me of that old song about falling asleep counting your blessings instead of sheep. Now whether that song makes you smile or cringe there’s one thing that remains true for all of us – being grateful and recognizing the good in our lives does wonders for our mental and physical health.
That’s right, being grateful does not only improve our mood and outlook on the world, but it can help us to decrease our stress levels. This second part is especially important because stress wreaks total havoc on our physical health; I’m talking everything from chronic headaches to a wimpy immune system, troubles in the bathroom to sleep problems and more. You can learn more about the affects of stress as well as ways to combat it here.
So what does being grateful have to do with all this? Well, when we experience and express gratitude we are recognizing the things that are going well in our lives. This helps us to keep a healthy level of optimism and can be really beneficial when unexpected challenges arise. When we take the time to reflect on what we’re grateful it’s much easier to believe that good things will continue to happen in our lives. It is also a great way to put the daily stressors of life back into perspective.
What are you grateful for today? What's making your toes scrunch with delight? Who's got your heart smiling so wide it's ready to burst? Make a list and begin to recognize how many things you have to get excited, contented, elated, relaxed, and enlivened about. Keep it in your pocket for a week or post it on the fridge to remind you what's going well.
Your list is also a wonderful way to make sure you are letting other people know you appreciate what they do. If you wrote down that you are thankful for your mama, make sure you let her know it! Maybe you are glad you discovered a website that has helped you personally or professionally - go ahead and jot an email to the creator and let them know how much their work means to you. Think of this as gratitude karma. When you let others know that you are grateful for them, they are more likely to keep up their efforts... when they keep up their efforts, they continue to share their fabulous self with others... Conversely, you can become the recipient of another's fabulousness because someone else encouraged their efforts.
So what has my heart thumping this week? Tune in tomorrow to find out!