Many of us face this day with some misgivings. Our health is a challenge or our loved ones are struggling with cancer. Medical bills pile up. We don’t have the time or energy or money for all the things we want.
Some of us have lost family members or friends since last Thanksgiving.
But facing the holidays with gratitude and purposely practicing it makes a difference in health. Researchers have found that focusing on what we are grateful for improves both physical and emotional health.
And expressing gratitude — by writing in down or talking about it — enhances those health effects. So, today I am grateful.
I am thankful for
- Work to do — this blog and the chance to write about living with cancer.
- The Skaneateles YMCA pool where I am up to half a mile of swimming every day. And its wonderful hot tub that eases my sore back.
- My little dog Ozzie, who walks with me and encourages me to keep on moving. He shows us every day that we can come back from truly horrible situations and thrive even though we are scared.
- Volunteer opportunities — being able to speak up for what people with colorectal cancer need and want.
- My great doctors who slice, dice, and encourage and have kept me alive and going despite all the lumps for nearly 30 years. A special thank you to Dr. Jonathan Wright, who is a bulldog of an oncologist, and Dr. Jose Guillem, my surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering.
- My sweet husband, Tom, who has sat in many waiting rooms waiting for surgery to be over.
- All the brave folks I have met along the way.
- Most of all, the health and energy to do what is most important to me — and the wisdom to know what that is.
Thank you all.
For information about research into gratitude and its health benefits, check out the Greater Good website. They have information about research, stories about successes living a grateful life, and tips for practicing gratitude every day.
Keeping a gratitude journal — just writing down five things for which you are grateful every week — enhances the immune system, reduces aches and pains, lowers blood pressure, and helps us sleep better. It also reduces feelings of loneliness and isolation.
In addition to gratitude journals, Dr. Robert Emmons, psychologist and researcher at the University of California at Davis, offers Ten Ways to Become More Grateful.
If you have something that you are especially grateful for today, please join us with a comment below.