Working your Attitude of Gratitude

     It is so easy to get overwhelmed with what’s not right in our lives.  Some days are a real struggle just to keep your head above water.  When I was younger, I thought that ‘one of these days’ I was going to get it together enough to just cruise for a while.  Hasn’t happened yet, and may not…ever.  Sigh.

     But I have one simple observance that lightens even the most trying day, virtually without fail.  And that’s my Gratitude List.  I take a few moments with pen and paper, or…this even works when I’m in traffic, I think of all the things I am grateful for in my life, a number of which are gifts to me, not earned.

     It is humbling to realize how many things are going pretty much right in my life, or despite my perceived trials and challenges, how often I have been given undeserved favor compared with many others that I have known or heard about.  This simple task renews a sense of love for those who are in my life, and one of compassion for those who are less fortunate.

Afterward, I am filled with a better sense of proportionality.  It gives my fuel tanks a dose of optimism about my life and a greater sense of empathy for those I meet along the way.

     It’s been said that stress is not what happens to you, it’s how you react to what happens to you.  I’d estimate that a good half of human suffering and disease is generated or aggravated by stress; internally generated stress.  Simplified, I’d say that stress is what we produce inside both brain and body when we sense that life is unreasonable, or unpredictable, or just plain mean to us.  It could be translated as “that’s not fair!  I deserve better”.  Well, maybe.  But in truth, not really.  As the Bible says, ‘He sends rain to fall on the just and the unjust’.

     So, possibly the best health advice I can give you is this: review your own gratitude list on a regular basis.  Rx: more gratitude, daily as directed = less stress = less inflammation (both brain and body) = healthier life.

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