• Regina Arzate

Gratitude Can Heal Your Life

As humans, we’re not hard-wired to be grateful – it doesn’t come naturally to us. It’s often so much easier to have a grumble, complain, and think about all the areas in our life where we’re experiencing pain or hardship. The downside of this habit is that it’s incredibly seductive. The saying “misery loves company” has a great deal of truth in it and there’s generally no shortage of people around us to indulge in our complaining.

"Without gratitude, life can be lonely, depressing and impoverished. Gratitude enriches human life. It elevates, energizes, inspires and transforms, and those who practice it will experience significant improvements in several areas of life including relationships, energy level and even dealing with tragedy and crisis.”

Good news for anyone who wasn’t born with a grateful disposition: The benefits of gratitude seem to be attainable through a directed practice of thankfulness.

More recent evidence has pointed toward gratitude’s beneficial effects on physical health. In the Emmons and McCullough study, for instance, the college students who were instructed to practice regular expressions of gratitude self-reported lower rates of physical ailments, like headaches and stomach upset. Researchers in Switzerland found that grateful individuals experience higher levels of physical well-being, are significantly more likely to engage in health care, and have a greater propensity to perform health-promoting behaviors like choosing healthy foods and abstaining from drugs.

It can help you to make more positive choices, take better care of yourself, feel empowered and to develop a positive ‘can do’ attitude to life.

A commitment to living a life of gratitude has thankfully reversed that attitude, but it’s a skill that takes some practicing and getting used to. As our gratitude practice becomes more sensitive by focusing on what’s good in our life along with all of the blessings surrounding us, a certain magic begins to take hold. It’s as if we send a message out to the universe to say “more of this please”, which then causes the positive experiences in our life to flourish and grow.

I like to take several minutes a day dedicated to thanking God for all the blessings he’s bestowed on me, whether little or large, and just meditate in the moment. It’s amazing how you come away feeling so energized and alive!

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