Gratitude is a tricky concept this year. I’ve seen countless articles about whether the state of the world has left us much to be grateful for. But whether or not the world needs our gratitude, we need gratitude to stay healthy.
Last year our friend and supporter Arianna Huffington wrote a piece about Thanksgiving and gratitude that proved unexpectedly prescient.
Arianna reports on research experiments demonstrating the health benefits of gratitude “found to lower levels of stress and depression and improve sleep."
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine found that gratitude exercises can lower levels of inflammation, which improves heart health … It’s like white blood cells for the soul, protecting us from cynicism, entitlement, anger and resignation — a small miracle that produces a lingering moment of grace… It’s no coincidence that gratitude shares the same Latin root — gratus — as the word grace.
The power of gratitude can also extend to what hasn’t happened — all those close shaves with “disaster” of some kind or another, all the bad things that could happen to us and just… don’t.
That distance between them happening and not happening is grace. It’s summed up in one of my favorite quotes (attributed to the eighth-century Muslim jurist Imam Al-Shafi’i): ‘My heart is at ease knowing that what was meant for me will never miss me, and that what misses me was never meant for me.’”
As we head into the holidays I hope gratitude for a vaccine on the horizon will be matched by continued diligence and caution. Please put your health and safety above all else. So doing helps keep others safe as well. Friends and family need you healthy. We do too.
May the stresses inherent in this year’s holiday season be tempered by rest, relaxation, and gratitude - for what once was and again will one day be. My best for your holiday.