The words “thank you” go a long way. It is one of the things we’re taught to say as little kids and the hope is that it sticks into adulthood. Over the past week I’ve had numerous conversations about the continuum of gratitude and it’s impact on our health. The simplest way for us to show gratitude is the old fashioned method of sending a note. In our world of technology we’ve lost that personal connection through handwritten notes. I recommend that any time you have an opportunity to send a personal note, do so, it will make you feel good and the recipient will first be shocked then greatly honored. It has an effect on the depth of our relationships because people in our lives feel honored and more connected to us.
A more quiet form of gratitude is also more personal because it involves being grateful for the day. This weekend I received news that two young men, in their thirties, recently died. One not to unexpected and one totally unexpected, but both still a shock. If life is that uncertain isn’t gratitude for the day essential to good health? Isn’t the idea that we get one more experience, one more day to share with others and one more day to “be here” a miracle?
The experience of gratitude calms the body. When our bodies are calm they can enter a healing zone improving our health. All the research shows that when we are connected to others in loving relationships our health improves. Keeping up with our relationships is at the forefront of that mission. There is no requirement to have a party or a huge dinner, simply get together with others for a cup of soothing tea. It’s all about the shared experience. Even those who may spend most of their time in bed can receive guests, energy level permitting, and share s few precious moments.
Illness shouldn’t mean automatic disconnection. When faced with the challenges of a life-altering diagnosis everything we can add to our treatment arsenal is worth pursuing. Gratitude doesn’t cost anything and the return on the emotional and spiritual investment is huge.