Be Grateful, It's Healthy

By Marjorie F. Eddington

A lot of authors are talking about recent and numerous studies that prove the power of gratitude. Not only does gratitude help our outlook on life, but it actually improves our health. And it does so more than eating the right kinds of foods or maintaining an effective exercise plan.

This makes perfect sense. If we have a grateful heart, we're happy. Our outlook on life is upbeat, positive, open, content, satisfied, peaceful. We're not worried or stressed that we don't or won't have enough of whatever it is we want or think we need. And this makes all the difference. Why? Because our body is listening to our thoughts. It's really not the other way around. Check out the book Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton if you want to read more on this from a scientific perspective.

Biblical authors and personas knew the power of gratitude centuries ago. Psalms is full of gratitude to God. The people praised God before they went into battle. They praised God after a victory. They praised God for rain and beauty, for everlasting mercy, for just about everything.

The psalmists weren't the only ones who were grateful for God. In addition to the patriarchs and the prophets, the Master and his followers praised God. Jesus gave thanks before he fed the multitudes, which he did at least two times with nothing but a few fish and loaves of bread to share. Surely the bread was whole grain and the fish yielded lots of Omega 3! But was that his point? Jesus was expressing gratitude for the spiritual sustenance that God is constantly providing His dear children.

Jesus gave thanks before he raised Lazarus from the dead. That's about as health-giving as you can get. Not only did Jesus see that God could give a man back his health, but God could give a man back his life. Really, Jesus revealed that a person's life, identity, is not encased in a material body. Lazarus's body arose when the Christly thought convinced him of his spiritual nature. And then, of course, Jesus rose from the dead.

Jesus' disciples carried this grateful, joyous attitude with them and spread the good news. They continued to heal others—body and soul. And we can, too.

We can improve our health not so much by exercising or eating the right kinds of foods, but by being grateful. We can focus on spiritual sustenance rather than on food, and we can maintain a spiritual exercise plan that begins with gratitude. Let's join the psalmist in saying, "It is wonderful to be grateful and to sing your praises, Lord Most High!" (Ps 92:1 CEV). In fact, it's healthy!