I have long looked at gratitude as one of the corners to what I have called the four-corner philosophy for wellbeing. This Four-Corner perspective is completely developed and fleshed out in my book, Choices and Illusions. The idea behind the Four-Corners is one of structural support for all phases in life, including those moments when seemingly everything goes wrong. Gratitude plays a critical role here, so much so, that a few years ago we made up lapel buttons that simply stated, “I have a gratitude attitude!”
Gratitude impacts our lives in many ways. Obviously it can set the tone for almost everything we experience. I learned a long time back that viewing all of the stimuli that comes to me with this lens, “I can’t wait to see what good comes of this,” was absolutely empowering. I have shared stories about how this one switch in our psychology can turn the so-called ugly events into the funniest things we have ever experienced.
However, gratitude is much more powerful than just this. I tell everyone that our thoughts are tremendously powerful. So powerful that we must take the time to train our own stream of consciousness, our own self-talk, to insure that it adequately serves us instead of sneakily playing saboteur. Our thoughts not only influence our mood states—they absolutely impact our physiology!
This past week I posted the findings of a new study. The title of the article says it well: “A grateful heart is a healthier heart.” The article went on to describe how researchers “found that more gratitude in patients was associated with better mood, better sleep, less fatigue and lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers related to cardiac health.” Further, “What surprised the researchers about the findings, though, was that gratitude fully or partially accounted for the beneficial effects of spiritual well-being.”
The researchers discovered a positive correlation between the restoration of health and gratitude as well. When the subjects used a gratitude journal their conditions improved. Now this is strategy that I successfully first deployed with a client who had resisted all forms of treatment for severe depression and suicidal ideation some twenty-five years ago. The conclusion of this new study, and I quote, “It seems that a more grateful heart is indeed a more healthy heart, and that gratitude journaling is an easy way to support cardiac health.”
Thoughts are Things
Thoughts are things! As a pragmatist we should all endeavor to encourage optimistic thoughts that support our well-being in every way. To intentionally allow any other form of thinking is simply counterproductive. It won’t be long before your thoughts are linked in a clinic to your genes for purposes of healing. Indeed, just Monday of this past week another new study announced that, and I quote, “Scientists combined a brain–computer interface with an optogenetic switch to create the first-ever brain–gene interface.”
Thinking is destiny is no longer lofty words belonging to the sages of lore. Today, “thinking is destiny”—is a way of life! Maintaining a positive gratitude attitude is a foundational girder that will not fail.
Thanks for the read and as always, I truly appreciate your comments and feedback.
NY Time Bestselling Author of Choices and Illusions