One virtue not often found in people is gratitude. We rejoice at gifts, opportunities and blessings received but oftentimes forget to acknowledge the source of all these good things.
Scientists have associated gratitude with good health: they have found out that giving or expressing thanks is one simple way of feeling better. Studies have shown that being thankful releases hormones: Serotonin which improves one’s moods, Cytokines which improves the immune system, Cortisol which is anti-stress and Dopamine which is related to cognitive and pleasure-related neurotransmitters. Expressing thanks has been found to relax blood pressure, stabilise blood sugar levels and improve overall wellbeing.
So once again we have something to be thankful for. God has provided us with a simple and natural way of keeping healthy by merely improving our sense of gratitude.
There are many ways we can develop this habit. One could start by saying a short silent prayer of thanks each and every time one received something good. This can be as small as finding a convenient parking slot at the crowded shopping mall to something as surprising and significant as a miraculous and unexplained cure of a potentially fatal illness.
Whatever it is, give thanks and let the giver know you appreciate the gift or favor. You can also give thanks by being yourself generous, like Naaman the leper in the first reading cured of his leprosy.
Often we receive gifts through other people. Let us practice always giving thanks to people who have helped us or benefitted us. Saying thank you, sending a thank you note, text or email, or token gift are all great practices of giving thanks.
We can always set time to count our blessings and to thank God and others for their awesome and generous gifts. Let everyday be a Thanksgiving Day.