As I have been studying health, it becomes clear that our attitude affects our health. One of those attitudes is gratitude. I am taking most of this from an article in Spark People by Ellen G. Goldman. She describes attitude as a “personality strength. If you possess a high level of gratitude, you often feel an emotional sense of wonder, thankfulness and appreciation for life itself.” President Hinckley defines gratitude this way, “When you walk with gratitude, you do not walk with arrogance and conceit and egotism, you walk with a spirit of thanksgiving that is becoming to you and will bless your lives”.
Gratitude is good for your health. Quoting Goldman, “Individuals who exhibit the most gratitude are happier, healthier, and more energetic. Grateful people report fewer symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, nausea, even acne, and spend more time exercising! And the more a person is inclined towards gratitude, the less lonely, stressed, anxious and depressed he or she will be.”
She list for things to help in practicing gratitude: Keep a gratitude journal; Express your gratitude; Look for what is right about a situation; and Practice gratitude with your family and friends. As I look at these four goals, I see some room for self improvement. I think the last is the area which would make the most difference in my life. If I could practice gratitude with my family, I think it would create a much better atmosphere around home. However, gratitude can be a habit of politeness, rather than an attitude of gratitude. By this I mean, expressing thanks, without the feeling of gratitude behind it, will not suffice. I think people can see when you are being false. So the key is to actually feel grateful.
My mother use to always quote the hymn, “Count Your Blessings” whenever I was getting down. Sometimes it pays to stop and count blessings, really enumerate what is right in your life.