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.

How Reiki Helps to Reduce Stress

Stress is a fact of life in the 21st century, for most of us anyway. Even if you live in the safest country in the world, are comfortable financially and in good health, your stress levels can cause chronic health problems. Since 1937, however, Western practitioners have been able to offer Reiki to patients.

History of Reiki

Reiki is believed to have been discovered in the mid-1800s by Dr. Mikao Usui, a Japanese-born Buddhist monk. He practiced for years in the slums of Kyoto, Japan, and was succeeded by Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, whose clinic remained open until 1940.

The practice was brought to the West in 1937 by Mrs Hawayo Takata, a Hawaiian woman of Japanese descent who was successfully treated by Dr. Hayashi. She learned the practice and trained 22 Reiki masters during the remainder of her lifetime.

What Stress Does to You

Reiki for stressStress causes the release of cortisol into your blood, which triggers the “fight or flight” response so many of us are familiar with. Chronic stress raises your blood pressure, suppresses your immune system, increases your risk for heart attack and stroke, contributes to infertility and speeds up the aging process. And there’s little you can do about it on your own. Stress can’t simply be managed by having a “pep talk” or spending some forced relaxation time.

How Reiki Works

So how does Reiki help you reduce and control your stress levels? Reiki is an energy healing treatment method, which works on your whole body, mind and spirit. It’s not a system of religious beliefs, but simply a relaxing treatment during which natural, healing vibrations are transmitted through the hands of the Reiki practitioner to your body. This triggers your body’s natural ability to heal using the immune system and helps you to relax and sleep better, which also improves your overall health.

Benefits of Reiki for Stress

Reiki is also known as “energy healing” in some circles. Some of the ways it benefits stress include:

  • Bringing inner peace and harmony, which is helpful for patients looking to achieve spiritual growth.
  • Balancing your mind and your emotions. Regular Reiki treatments can result in calming you and giving you the strength to cope with everyday stressors. The increased mental balance also improves your memory and mental clarity, making it easier for you to learn and retain information.
  • Helping to heal mental and emotional stress, and reducing mood swings, anxiety and frustration. It can also relieve emotional anguish and sorrow, and help with the process of grieving. This is because it cleans and clears your emotions, which provides perspective and prevents them from being so draining to the body.
  • Enhancing your ability to love, so it can heal and strengthen your personal relationships with others and enable you to connect with them on a deeper level. By doing so, many people are able to reduce the stress of loneliness.

By helping you to relax and unwind, Reiki gives your body and mind the chance to heal. It’s a safe, painless and very relaxing experience.