For today's article, I had planned to tell you about some awesome knee-strengthening exercises I found online, and how you can incorporate them into your normal routine.
And yet as I sat down to write it, something happened that I can’t really explain.
I was overcome with a sense of gratitude… I was just incredibly thankful…
Thankful that I have such a strong connection with my readers…
Thankful that I get to do what I’m passionate about every day, which is help Baby Boomers live amazing, full lives with less pain…
Just thankful for everything God has blessed me with in my life.
It was such a wonderful, fulfilling feeling that I thought “Wow, being grateful really makes you feel awesome. I wonder if there are any health benefits to it!” So I did some research and it turns out, there ARE.
An article from Psychology Today examined exactly how gratitude can positively affect one's health, and the benefits are wide-ranging indeed.
- Open doors to new relationships
- Improve physical health
- Improve psychological health
- Reduce aggression
- Improve sleep
- Improve self-esteem
- Increase mental health
Those are some amazing benefits and I don't think we should be missing out on any of them! So in doing this research, I also found a technique for being more grateful every day, and I want to pass it on.
So today, I have an assignment for you. It takes about ten minutes and should be done every night before bed. It's a technique that comes from University of Pennsylvania professor Martin Seligman called the "Three good things" exercise.
Here's what you do:
Think of three things that happened today for which you are grateful. They can be as little as the traffic being light on your commute, or significant events like a family member giving birth. Write the three events down on paper.
Next to each positive event, answer the question, "Why did this happen?" So for example, if you wrote down that your daughter got an A on her spelling test, you can say it's because she studied hard and put a lot of work into it. There's no one right answer here; simply write what you think was the reason this positive thing happened in your life!
Susan Pierce Thompson, a cognitive scientist, suggests everyone take part in the “three good things” exercise. If you do, she says you can see significant improvements in your overall happiness in just a matter of weeks!
“If there were a drug that did that, whoever patented that drug would be rich,” Thompson says. “Gratitude is very powerful.”
And fortunately, this doesn't require one trip to the pharmacy. You have everything you need for this technique right in front of you. So, ready to give it a try?
I’ll start, so you see how it works.
My Three Good Things:
- I had a really good workout and was finally able to perform one exercise maneuver better than I have in a long time.
- My son, Landen, offered to share his snack with his sister without being prompted!
- I read a story about a couple who adopted six children, all biological siblings, because they didn’t want the kids to grow up apart!
Now, why did these things happen?
- I've been practicing this maneuver for over a month now, never quite getting it right. This was the result of my hard work and determination.
- We've worked hard to instill good values and Landen has a very loving and caring nature.
- These people put the needs of others before themselves. It may not have been their original plan, but they set that aside for the benefit of those children.
Wow! Just typing that out makes me feel fantastic!
And now I want you to try the same exercise. I think you'll be surprised how much this will affect you. For me, it gave me some pretty deep reminders that there are a lot of things we take for granted that we absolutely should not.
So by the end of the day, write out your “three good things.” They don’t have to be huge, just any moment, thought or thing that make you happy and gave you a sense of gratitude. Did someone hold a door open for you? Did your coworker bring you some coffee? Did you get to spend time with your family? That's all relevant because those are things for which you should be grateful. Then write down why you think those things happened.
And remember, this shouldn't be a one-time assignment. I'm going to challenge myself to do this every single day, and I implore you to do the same.
Let's all be more grateful for the little blessings in life we have moving forward!