The Gift of Health is Keeping Me Alive

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gratitude and health

Here it is June, almost half way through the year. I know many of us make New Year’s resolutions in January about being healthy. How are you doing?

By the way – I did a little research – did you know that 45 million people a year go on diets and that diets are the most common New Year’s resolution?  And, this was cool…. the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions started with the ancient Babylonians in like 2000 BC (found that on – thought that was a pretty interesting piece of  trivia to pass on!

Since most people give up quickly, I figured I’d look at some ways we can start to turn things around more positively in our lives in regards to health.  I started thinking about the correlation between health and gratitude.  You know, it really makes sense.  Health does link up with stress, as we read in Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s book The Power of Positive Thinking (see forum if you want to read more of the book review / discussion) On p. 152 it was written that “1/3 of all cases of illness in general hospitals are clearly organic in nature and onset, one third are a combination of emotional and organic, and one third are clearly emotional” and that long-held hatred can cause damage to a body to lower resistance and physical deterioration and that grudges ill will and resentment can cause poor health.  “Many people suffer poor health not because of what they eat but from what is eating them. Emotional ills turn in upon yourself, sapping your energy, reducing your efficiency, causing deterioration in your health. And of course they siphon off your happiness”, p. 154. So… resentment, fear, anxiety are the culprits and illustrates “the profound effect of mental pain on physical conditions” (p. 155). Dr. Peale even went on to note how recurring colds can even be traced to being angry or feelings of insecurity.

So, we learn that our negative thinking or harboring ill will can cause health concerns, but how does gratitude fit in? When we practice gratitude consistently, we are re-framing our thinking, so we aren’t automatically stuck in that place of negative self-talk that usually keeps us from moving ahead in all areas of our life.  We tend to think of well-being as mainly physical, but there are actually many kinds—financial, spiritual, career, community, for example—and they are all connected back to the physical.  A statistic from Dr. Robert A. Emmons’ book entitled Thanks! How the new Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier is that people who were in the gratitude condition felt fully 25% happier, more optimistic and confident and even did almost 1.5 hours more exercise a week!  So, perhaps there is something we should consider regarding positive thinking and its affect on our health.

Today I was reading The Magic, a book by Rhonda Byrne, the author of The Secret.  The whole book is about gratitude, and today’s chapter is on — guess what — HEALTH and Gratitude!!  As many of you know, I’ve working in healthcare since 1987.  I’ve seen the sick and sad — it’s one of the reasons I started  It’s no joke.  I don’t think anyone wants to wind up in a skilled nursing facility (nursing home), although I do work for some amazing places who provide fabulous quality of life to their residents… but, when you’re health is gone, sometimes you need to be at a facility for care.  In as much as the Administrators I work for are great and help the residents maintain as much independence as possible, you still loose some.  You can’t always get around by yourself anymore and you may become dependent on others to do the simplest tasks for you.  I agree that we sometimes take our health for granted until it’s gone.  As a matter of fact, Ms. Byrne even noted that we do sometimes realize how it’s horrible to lose our health when we’re just temporarily sick with a cold or flu.   Grandma always said, “If you don’t have your health you don’t have anything.”  Ms. Byrne wrote, “being grateful for your health is essential to keep your health, but also to guarantee that it continues to get better, with increasing energy and zest for life”.   I, truly, am grateful for my good health and the good health of my family.

Today, please evaluate yourself.  None of us are perfect.  I believe we sometimes put so much pressure on ourselves that it hurts us physically.  If you were one of the people in January who tried to overhaul everything about your health – eating and exercise, all at once, don’t despair.  Every day is a new beginning.  Perhaps it is time to look for the primary cause of our eating habits or unhealthiness and start to make one small change at a time.  Maybe we need to start with our thinking, first. Perhaps it is time to be grateful for what we have and who we are.  Perhaps we need to realize we, each of us in our own way, are amazing and can accomplish amazing things.  Perhaps we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves.  Perhaps it will show in our good health and longevity.

– Doreen

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Embrace the philosophy – you have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance to have quality of life. = resources for a better life.  Learn what you need to know and make a small change.  It’s time to Enjoy Your Life!

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