A Gratitude A Day Keeps the Doctor Away
Updated: Jan 29, 2018
Did you know that just by spending 10 minutes a day to think about what you are grateful for can stimulate your body's first line defence system called the Immunoglobulin A (IgA)?
Have you ever tried paying attention to your thoughts? When you do, what do you realize? Do you realize that your thought-process are mostly worrying thoughts about the past or the future?
Imagine this: You wake up early in the morning and upon opening your eyes, you realize that it's raining! What's the first thing that come in to your mind? The reluctancy to get out of bed perhaps but you have to; the worrying thoughts that you might be late for work because of the slow traffic due to rain; or you can't do your pile up laundry today because of the wet weather ....
And did you know that just by thinking of all these thoughts while lying on your bed would have triggered the stress respond in your body even though your day haven't even started yet? Imagine yourself doing the same thing over and over again every single day, worrying about your day at the very beginning of the day (and also the rest of the day); what would happen to the body?
Inevitably, the body would have mistaken that you are (constantly) under attack and prepare you to fight or flight. The fight-or-flight stress response enables you to respond to danger (whether real or imagine), so at this moment, all of the organs involved in getting ready for a physical challenge (to fight) or preparing for a retreat (to flight) are activated, and so:
(1) Your heart rate increases
(2) Your breathing becomes fast and shallow
(3) Your pupils dilate
(4) Your muscles contract
(5) Blood pressure rises
(6) Digestions put on hold
(7) Reproductive hormones reduce
(8) Blood sugar rises
(9) Immunity suppressed
So think about it; what would happen to your physical and psychological health over time when the body is constantly under (perceived) attack? The body can no longer attain homoeostasis; in other words, the body cannot find it's balance and it would start wrecking havoc to the entire body system. And below are the common warning signs of stress overload:
(1) Sleeping problem
(2) Digestive problems (i.e. constipation, indigestion etc.)
(3) Weight issues
(4) Skin conditions (i.e. rash, acne, eczema etc.)
(5) Reproductive issues
(6) Anxiety, depression, unexplained sadness
(7) Autoimmune disorder
So how to do you stop the stress before it creates unwanted dis-ease to the body?
Simple. All you need to do is to close your eyes, focus to your breathing and then begin THINKING about what you are grateful for. Perhaps, be grateful of your body being ABLE to help you cope with stress daily? Give gratitude to the fact that you have food on your plate? Appreciate the fact that you are able to move about with your legs? Anything!
"There is always be something to be grateful for"
When you are able to sit quietly and give thanks to what you already have, you allow your body to immediate cease "fight or flight" and switch to "rest & digest" - a parasympathetic response that is responsible for the balance and maintenance of the body’s systems. Contrary to fight or flight, rest & digest restores the body to a state of calm and bring homoeostasis which allows the body to relax and repair.
What's more? Scientist have even found that, just by sitting quietly for 10 minutes a day, thinking about what you are grateful for enables the increase of immunoglobulin-A: one of the most important antibodies in the body made by the immune system to fight bacteria, viruses, and toxins. It is found in high concentrations in the body's mucous membranes, particularly the respiratory passages and gastrointestinal tract, as well as in saliva and tears.
So if you want to prevent dis-ease and live a long healthy life, it is important that you become aware of your thoughts and ensure that you do not let your thoughts run wild.
You are the controller of your body and mind, it's about time you take back control and do something about it!
A simple thing that you can do for your body & mind daily is to close your eyes, sit quietly and move yourself into a state of gratitude. If you do this daily for at least 10 minutes, you are allowing your health to improve as you are bringing balance to the bodymind.
Do not wait till you have "the time" to do so! Begin now, right at this moment, go ahead and close your eyes, start counting your blessings and FEEL grateful for each of them.