Excerpt from Daily Cures, Wisdom for Healthy Aging by Connie Mason Michaelis
We hear a lot about the practice of gratitude these days. There are books to read and journals to keep that promise a surge of positive emotions. Some may think this is pollyannaish, but there is a great deal of evidence that says the practice of gratitude improves mental and emotional health. The University of California Berkeley recently announced a $3.1 million research study on the power of gratitude. Through their Greater Good Science Center, they study the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being and how we can foster a more thriving, resilient, and compassionate society. I had to smile when I read that. That is a lot of money to prove what we know intuitively.
I don’t think anyone would argue the benefit of being grateful; the problem is that we forget to do it. Do you count your blessings? This is a daily exercise, medicine for our souls. It can change our brain neurons to fire in positive automatic patterns. Gratitude can soothe distress and broaden our thinking patterns. We always have something to be grateful for, and there is always someone worse off than we are. I want to challenge you to write down five things you are grateful for every morning. No need to be fancy, but you might think out of the box, and refrain from items like family, health, and friends, and pay attention to small things like hot water and daffodils. Thornton Wilder said, “We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”
“Count your blessings. Once you realize how valuable you are and how much you have going for you, the smiles will return, the sun will break out, the music will play, and you will finally be able to move forward the life that God intended for you with grace, strength, courage, and confidence.” Og Mandino