We live in a fast paced world, and we all experience some degree of stress at times.  Over the years, I have found that patients who are grateful deal more effectively with the stressors associated with living with chronic pain, which is pain that has lasted more than three months.

Gratitude is the act of being appreciative of what we have rather than feeling bad about those things we don’t have. The positive attitude that patients with gratitude show is a positive asset in the treatment process. These patients are usually willing to try numerous treatment options.

Rather than expressing bitterness they get involved in their treatment and they continually focus on trying to get better. These patients are willing to set realistic goals and they focus more on well-being and less on pain.
Life’s challenges can cause us internal conflict, and these constant internal battles can increase stress and cause us to waste a lot of energy.  Therefore, each of us must learn how to cope with the stressors of everyday life. With gratitude we find joy in our daily lives. 

An attitude of gratitude can enhance our lives in numerous ways. People who are grateful tend to be happier, healthier and more fulfilled. Being grateful can help people cope with stress. Therefore, it is essential to practice giving gratitude on a daily basis.
Seven health benefits of Gratitude:

1. Grateful people take better care of themselves. This results in improving their overall health, because they pay attention to what they eat, and how much they eat.

2. Grateful people exercise more regularly. 

3. Gratitude reduces stress, which can help to reduce heart disease.

4. Gratitude boosts the immune system; therefore, you are less susceptible to disease. Negative feelings, however, can weaken the immune system.

5. With stress reduction, you are calmer, therefore you think more clearly and you have more concentration.

6. When you maintain the feeling of thankfulness for as little as 15 to 20 seconds, breathing becomes deeper, increasing the oxygen level of your tissues. 

7. Gratitude helps to restore a positive mood, and decreases depression.

Research has demonstrated several health benefits of gratitude. With positive feelings and optimistic views, stress is reduced and blood pressure is better controlled. With better-controlled blood pressure, the risk of heart disease is reduced.

Whether one expresses gratitude is a personal choice.

However, isn't it worthwhile from a health standpoint to take the effort to get rid of negative thoughts and start enjoying the benefits of gratitude?

One way to ensure that you remember to express gratitude is to start making the effort to give words of gratitude to those who you love today.

Each morning look for people or things throughout the day for which you are grateful, and take the time to appreciate them.

Remember to say “thank you” to the special people in your life.

Get rid of negativity and let your acts of gratitude change your attitude(sm).

©2011 Winifred D. Bragg, MD. All Rights Reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Winifred D.Bragg, MD is a highly sought after keynote speaker, author and physician whose strategies to succeed are based on her personal experience.

She is the CEO of the Spine and Orthopedic Pain Center where she uses state of the art techniques to provide patients with non-surgical solutions to treat orthopedic problems of the upper and lower extremities as well as spinal conditions.

She delivers powerful messages on the importance of maintaining a positive attitude and a commitment to self-improvement as key elements to succeed.