Gratitude: Good for Your Health

Gratitude is an essential emotion, and expressing it is a key component in what makes us human and what helps us live a long, happy and healthy life. Throughout the fall, we have many opportunities to express our gratitude. Some of us celebrate the harvest, perform with rituals, festivals or prayer. We can also celebrate in solitude, in large groups or one on one with someone we want to just tell how grateful we are to them during this season.

We have all had a year filled with ups and downs and taking the time to reflect on what we have in life is very fulfilling and worthwhile. Many of us in South Florida (and elsewhere in the world) have been through serious storms of one sort or another, and we can be grateful for our survival. It’s one thing to be grateful and another thing entirely to express those feelings. Now is the time to tells those people in your lives to whom you are grateful just how much you appreciate them.

I leave you with a beautiful reflection on gratitude from 19th-century poet, Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

Thanksgiving

We walk on starry fields of white
And do not see the daisies;
For blessings common in our sight
We rarely offer praises.
We sigh for some supreme delight
To crown our lives with splendor,
And quite ignore our daily store
Of pleasures sweet and tender.

Our cares are bold and push their way
Upon our thought and feeling.
They hand about us all the day,
Our time from pleasure stealing.
So unobtrusive many a joy
We pass by and forget it,
But worry strives to own our lives,
And conquers if we let it.

There’s not a day in all the year
But holds some hidden pleasure,
And looking back, joys oft appear
To brim the past’s wide measure.
But blessings are like friends, I hold,
Who love and labor near us.
We ought to raise our notes of praise
While living hearts can hear us.

Full many a blessing wears the guise
Of worry or of trouble;
Far-seeing is the soul, and wise,
Who knows the mask is double.
But he who has the faith and strength
To thank his God for sorrow
Has found a joy without alloy
To gladden every morrow.

We ought to make the moments notes
Of happy, glad Thanksgiving;
The hours and days a silent phrase
Of music we are living.
And so the theme should swell and grow
As weeks and months pass o’er us,
And rise sublime at this good time,
A grand Thanksgiving chorus.

To a long and healthy life,
David Bernstein, MD