5 Ways to Make Gratitude Benefit Your Health

A popular concept on Facebook these days is to post a daily “Attitude of Gratitude” item. I love this because it makes us stop and think about what we have to be grateful for. There’s actually quite a large amount of scientific evidence available that people who practice gratitude as part of their lifestyle enjoy more well-being than others.

How Gratitude Affects Health

Research from the UK’s Manchester University School of Psychology turned up proof that gratitude can be a stronger indicator of health and happiness than any other character trait. A recent study showed that participants who paid a gratitude visit to someone whom they felt grateful to benefited from a significant increase in their happiness level and a corresponding drop in depression scores.

When we make practicing gratitude a part of our daily routine, it helps us achieve a life full of joy, passion and grace. Here’s how:

#1: Keep a Journal

attitude of gratitudeIt’s easy to forget the things we have to be grateful for, especially as we get older. Make a point of writing down three things every day, and review the journal whenever you’re feeling down. This helps to remind you of how fortunate you are. It also helps to keep you positive and inspires you when you need it. Various studies have shown that when participants recorded what they were grateful for, they achieved lasting improvement in their happiness score.

#2: Express Feelings of Appreciation

When you’re grateful for something, say so. Not only will it help the recipient of your gratitude to understand and benefit from your appreciation, but it will also help to “cement” it in your own subconscious mind. The best way to get more is to give more, and unless you show your gratitude to others they aren’t likely to show theirs to you. So it works both ways.

#3: Walk the Talk

Talking about your gratitude and appreciation is great, but you’ll benefit even more if you walk the talk. Choose someone whose actions have affected your life in a positive way and pay them a gratitude visit. Think of a way to acknowledge them specially for what they’ve done. This could be picking some wild flowers and taking them along, baking a special treat or singing outside their window. As long as your intention is to bring them unsolicited joy, you’ll both benefit.

#4: Look for the Good

There’s a saying in business that goes “Don’t look for things your staff are doing wrong; try to catch them doing something right.” You can apply this to your Attitude of Gratitude, too, by looking for opportunities to express gratitude or appreciation. Be aware of chances to acknowledge those around you, and seize those opportunities to say “thank you” to them.

#5: Remind Yourself Regularly

When life gets in the way and things become crazy, it’s easy to forget the good stuff that you have going on. That’s where your journal can come in useful. Even if you aren’t necessarily able to sit and review it, however, reminding yourself how fortunate you are and taking the time to “count your blessings” will lift your spirits and pull you out of a negative slump. And once your blood is pumping, your heart is singing and you’re at peace with the world, you’ll find you infect others the same way and the blessings will flow back to you.

Try it today. Practice an “attitude of gratitude” for a week and see how it makes you feel.

My Son, My Teacher – Living with allergies

super isaiahI can remember the day my son Isaiah (3rd born) had his full-blown anaphylaxis shock like it was yesterday. It was Oct 2009, Thanksgiving weekend; he was only 18 months old.  We just got home from shopping at Costco, and I gave him a healthy snack of pesto and toast while I was putting away the groceries.

I noticed his lips got swollen, and I didn’t understand why. I carefully watched his body and noticed he was getting hives. I gave him some Benadryl and thought he was going to be fine. Then he said to me “ME choke, ME CHOKE!” (Thank goodness he was smart and started talking very early). This was his way of telling me he can’t breathe. I gave him his puffers (yes he has asthma too, but that’s another story) and realized this is VERY serious so I called 911.

I saw him swell up beyond recognition. When we got into the ambulance his Oxygen level was down to 90%, which meant he was really struggling to breath. When we reached the hospital I was relieved, yet I was scared! He looked like “The Thing” from the movie Fantastic Four.  The Doctor immediately gave him an Epipen shot and hooked him up to oxygen and other high tech machines that monitored his heart etc. He needed to get 2 Epipen Shots and we had to spend the night at the hospital.

The Doctor told me “If you didn’t get here when you did, any later he would have DIED.” I honestly was in FEAR mode the entire time. I kept surrounding us with reiki, praying, calling on Archangel Raphael for healing and felt helpless. We had to go see an allergist who sent us to get his blood tests done to see what exactly he was allergic too. I didn’t realize that Pine nuts are in Pesto sauce and that is what triggered his anaphylactic shock.

Finally the blood results were in:  0.35 and under means normal – the person has no allergies, and his results for the pine nuts were 1.35; which is why he had that severe reaction. His results to peanuts are even worse: 40.00; which means that he can get a shock from just being in the same room and touching a peanut.  When I found out these results it took me a few days to let it go and adjust to this news. The allergist said it’s very rare to grow out of these allergies but I believe in miracles so I KNOW that anything is possible.

So I had to ACCEPT this new reality for our family. Of course I am human I had all the “what ifs” in my head. “What if he kisses a girl as a teenager and she had peanuts and he dies… What if I am not there with him to protect him, and he accidentally has peanuts” etc… I knew that it was my fear talking and fear is EGO – I chose to stay in Spirit. It was a challenge; I had to learn everything I could on these new results. I am so thankful to be in Canada where everything is labeled in the ingredients and marked “Peanut Free”.

It was hard watching my 18 month old go through this; once again I had to grow from this experience. Honestly it was a big step for me; I was blaming myself for his allergies, thinking: “It must have been because I ate a lot of peanuts when I was pregnant”. (I used to make protein shakes with chocolate Vega and 3 tbsps. of organic peanut butter every day.)  I always had a strong faith in God/Universe and knew that God doesn’t give me anything I can’t handle. My metaphysical spiritual beliefs assisted me in letting go of this fear, letting go of blame, and accepting.

My spiritual beliefs are, that we chose our experience before we got here on Earth. That as a soul, we decide what we want to experience on our trip to Earth; we chose our parents, our family, and our path. So I had to trust that Isaiah chose this experience, that as a soul he decided one day ” Hmmm I am going to go to Earth School. So, so what if I want to come back home to the Spirit world, how should I exit the Earth Plane? Well, I will pick peanut allergies. That way if things get too much to handle on Earth I can have a quick exit point back home”. Yes this may sound very foreign to some of you, but it really helped me in letting go, trusting that this is as it should be.

Today my son is 6 and a half years old. He is very smart. Before he eats anything from anyone he asks “does it have peanuts?” and he recognizes the peanut-free label on foods and gets so excited when something is peanut free! He is my teacher, my angel! He has assisted me in my growing journey. Life is a process of continual growth! I learnt a lot from this experience:

1.     Let Go of Blame – It has nothing to do with what I ate when I was pregnant, I can’t control everything. It’s part of Isaiah’s path, I had to Trust and Let go.

2.     Let Go of Anger – Yes I was angry saying to myself “WHY ME… I am a good person, I don’t deserve this”. But my wonderful husband said to me once “WHY not YOU?” That was my reality check. YES he is right, why NOT me? He also made me realize it’s not a big deal, there are a lot of worse things that can happen and we need to be Grateful for his health.

3.     Acceptance – I had to ask myself “What lessons am I learning with this experience” I had to remember that it’s all in God’s hands. Educate myself and educate Isaiah; that is my role.

4.     Teach others- I love inspiring and teaching others and this experience has given me something I can use to help others on their path as well. To trust and let go of fear yet again.

5.      LOVE – LOVE heals all. Love helped me to let go of my fear and to trust that everything is going to be all right. Love is the best medicine. I surround my family with LOVE every day.

I found this great poem on LOVE. May your life be Filled with love and remember TRUST that YOU are not given ANYTHING you can’t handle.

“There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer;
No disease that enough love will not heal;
No door that enough love will not open;
No gulf that enough love will not bridge;
No wall that enough love will not throw down;
No sin that enough love will not redeem…

It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble;
how hopeless the outlook; how muddled the tangle; how great the mistake.
A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all.
If only you could love enough you would be
the happiest and most powerful being in the world. “——Emmet Fox

 

IT is true when you embrace difficulty nothing can bring you down; you will have this inner knowing that there is a lesson here. That this experience is really helping you become a better version of yourself.