by Ken Rolheiser
Gratitude can save your life

Be grateful that: mirrors don’t laugh!

I’m grateful to you for teaching me the definition of ‘abundance’. It means a lot. I am so grateful to say I've been sober since 2015 - for those that don't use military time, since 8:15 p.m. last night.

Thanks for laughing at my joke even though you didn’t get it. It means more than you know.

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”—Willie Nelson. 

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.”—Alphonse Karr

I have just given you more than five things to be grateful for. If we can do this every day, the benefits to our health are astounding and measurable.

Even more astounding, the benefits of cultivating gratitude to God has blessings more than we know.
“Gracious words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
Proverbs 16:24

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (1 Thessalonians 5:18). "This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."(Psalm 118:24). "And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful."(Colossians 3:15).

The New York Times, in a series of three studies, reported that people who wrote five things they were grateful for weekly for two months scored significantly higher on self reported emotional and physical measure. Those people who kept a gratitude journal were more optimistic and felt happier. They reported fewer physical problems and spent more time working out.

In a study of polio survivors and other people with neuromuscular problems, “those who kept a gratitude journal reported feeling happier and more optimistic than those in a control group, and these reports were corroborated by observations from their spouses. These grateful people also fell asleep more quickly at night, slept longer and woke up feeling more refreshed.”

In a study of 186 men and women who already had some form of heart disease, researchers found that those who reported a more grateful mindset on a questionnaire were less depressed, slept better, and had more energy. Even more incredible was the fact they exhibited lower levels of both inflammation and plaque build-up. In other words, those participants who were more grateful actually had healthier hearts.

“Memories of past joys help us to grasp onto hope in the midst of darkness, believing that eventually all will be well once more. Joy glories in the love of God and others and effortlessly draws others into that love.” (Isabella Moyer).

Geoffrey James of says, “People who approach life with a sense of gratitude are constantly aware of what’s wonderful in their lives. Because they enjoy the fruits of their successes, they seek out more success. And when things don’t go as planned, people who are grateful can put failure into perspective.”

Being thankful is great, but being grateful is even better. Gratitude borders on the spiritual, on being blessed with the people and things around you.

Gratitude can save your life through the better health you can enjoy. Gratitude can become a habit, as we see in the gratitude journal studies. Giving thanks can make you happier. Joy can be cultivated.

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