I am currently reading a book titled Attitudes of Gratitude: How to Give and Receive Joy Everyday of Your Life. It provides excellent guidance to re-awaken to the joy and exuberance a child experiences on a daily basis, emotions that most adults lose sight of when the stresses and strains of life become too much. I am using the book as a reminder of how to stay physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy.
One of the readings reminds us how the emotions of love and appreciation can bring about physical healing. We’ve all heard about people who are diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses and are given a short time to live who make a major turnaround and live for years beyond what the medical profession predicted. Generally, these people have positive outlooks, and are deeply spiritual people whose meditations and prayers are full of gratitude.
Negative thoughts weaken the immune system, which is the foundation of health. The immune system works by attacking germs that enter our body. Those of us who spend a lot of our time obsessing on negativity, who are angry at the world, and are unable to forgive, are more prone to heart disease, cancer, and other serious illnesses.
When we focus on experiencing joy, love, gratitude, and optimism, the sense of well-being can strengthen the immune system, which can fight off the pathogens that create illness. As the author of the book states, “…the more we experience a sense of gratitude, the more endorphins and the less adrenaline we pump into our systems, thus contributing to longer, healthier lives. As we count our blessings, we literally bathe ourselves inwardly in good hormones.” (p.20)
Do what you can to stay as healthy as possible, starting with a healthy mind. When you find yourself thinking negative thoughts, or stressing over something that is going on in your life, stop a moment and find something to be grateful for in that moment. Are you feeling stress from your job? Be thankful that you have one. Are the actions of your child causing you to feel angry? Remember that her coming into your life was a true blessing. Finding the positive in any situation can help you feel better, both emotionally and physically.