Do you have moments where you say “WOW! Life is truly wonderful!”?

This morning started out as most others. I was having my workout. My child left for school and my partner spent a few minutes entertaining me (he is a funny guy), before leaving for his workplace. As I started moving to the music, this sudden feeling of joy and thankfulness came over me like a warm blanket. A truly inspiring moment of great awareness.

After finishing the morning workout, I surfed the web for forums on gratitude to see what people were talking about. Many of the writings were about being thankful for what we do have rather than focusing on what we don’t as an important feature of optimism and success. There was one particularly interesting discussion on being thankful for our bodies and what the body can do.

Spiritual leaders and psychologists alike tell us that “gratitude” is a very important part of emotional health, spiritual wellness and good relationships. As kids, we learn to thank people for doing nice things for us and we learn about being thankful for the material things, people, victories, challenges and situations that we have.

I was very lucky to have a father who was always optimistic – a big part of which came from his deeply rooted feelings of gratefulness for all aspects of his life. From him I learned to grow and change with each challenge and be thankful for the opportunity to do so. He always said that everything happens because fate is working to take us to where we need to be.

Optimism and gratitude are not only components of emotional and spiritual wellness, but also physical wellness and hence…fitness. An easy demonstration of this is the person who survives cancer. Often it’s the attitude of “I am sure that I will beat this and in the meantime I will be thankful for everyday” that determines this person’s survival. If you have ever been close to someone in this situation, you understand when I say how wonderful these folks are to be around – the attitude is contagious! Think Lance Armstrong..

A few years back when I lost optimism for a time. My partner of over 15 years left me for someone else after having a long term affair. I cried everyday for nearly a year and started to be afraid that I would always be sad. As time went by, my health deteriorated. I couldn’t eat, lost muscle weight, couldn’t sleep etc.

My medical exam tests that year showed that this pessimism was in fact affecting my health. It was only when I was able to stop focusing on loss and recognize what I had gained from the experience did my health improve. Also, I was able to open myself to the idea of “dating” (dating after 20 years is quite exciting!). Eventually dating led me to meet the funny guy from the first paragraph and many other new adventures!

When you are exercising, or just going about your daily routine, do you stop and marvel at the beauty and functionality of your own body? Or do you focus on what’s wrong with it either aesthetically or mechanically? The body is an incredible piece of work. Each body is unique. Your body houses “you”, transports you and gives you the ability to feel, see, hear and communicate among other things. It’s truly something to be thankful for.

Appreciation of your body is key to keeping it healthy. Focusing on what your body can do will allow you to build fitness and stay positive even when your workouts (or daily life) become particularly challenging.

Always be thankful for your BEAUTIFUL body that serves you so well!

Author's Bio: 

Ainsley Laing, MSc. has been a Fitness Trainer for 25 years and writes exclusively Body for Mind eZine. She holds certifications in Group Exercise, Sports Nutrition and Personal Fitness Training. To read other articles by Ainsley, visit and