LIVING HEALTHY – DR. ROBIN MILLER –
I recently traveled to Argentina where there is a specific species of butterfly that lives for only 24 hours. Watching these pretty little beings and trying to come to grips with the recent shootings around the country makes me wonder. What if we all had only one day to live? Would we do things differently? There are waterfalls where the butterflies live that are 250 million years old. In the scheme of things comparing our longevity to the age of the falls, isn’t our life just a blink in time or the comparative equivalent of 24hours or less? None of us know how long we have on this earth. That is painfully apparent. Maybe it is time to change our perspective?
These times we live in are difficult because many of us feel that our jobs, family, and children should be happy, healthy and perfect. It would be wonderful if our lives turned out like a Hallmark movie. Unfortunately, that is not the way it usually works. Sometimes frustrating, irritating, painful and hurtful things happen. How we deal with these things can determine how we go on and ultimately how healthy we are. There is a simple way to cope, survive, thrive and heal. Simply put, it can be done with gratitude.
Finding things to be grateful for can help us feel better emotionally and physically. There is a fair amount of research available through Dr Robert Emmons at the University of California at Davis. In one study, he divided his study subjects into three groups. As a daily activity, one group was asked to write five things that they were grateful for, another described five things that stressed them and the third group was asked to list any five events that affected them. After 10 weeks, those in the gratitude group felt better about their lives, exercised more and had fewer doctor visits compared to the other two groups.
Another study of those with neuromuscular disease such as post-polio syndrome was asked to write in a daily gratitude journal. After doing that, they were more optimistic about their lives and slept better when compared to the control group.
A study done in Connecticut found that people who had a heart attack and looked at it as a blessing (because it helped them to appreciate life more) had a lower risk of having a second heart attack compared to those who did not see it that way.
I have a life saving suggestion that might be beneficial. When things gets stressful and frustrating, take a moment and count your blessings. Think about those little butterflies that have only one whole day to live. It makes no sense to waste time with anger, grudges, or regret. Identifying things that we are grateful for or expressing gratitude to those in our life who we appreciate makes a lot more sense. It costs nothing and the pay off is huge.