- you, for reading and supporting me, today and throughout the years
- my friends and family (even if they're not reading this!)
- my guides, without whom much of my life would not be possible
- nature, without whom none of our lives would be possible
- technology -- where would we be without electricity, radio, TV, the internet, automobiles, transit, etc.?
Gratitude is important for two reasons. The first is the simple, "What you focus on, expands". If you appreciate things, you get more of what you appreciate. The second is that it is actually good for your health! According to research at the Institute of HeartMath,
"...true feelings of gratitude, appreciation and other positive emotions can synchronize brain and heart rhythms, creating a bodywide shift to a scientifically measurable state called coherence. In this optimal state, the body’s systems function more efficiently, generating a greater balance of emotions and increased mental clarity and brain function.
"Sustained feelings of gratitude have real benefits, including the following:
- Biochemical changes – Favorable changes in the body’s biochemistry include improved hormonal balance and an increase in production of DHEA, the "anti-aging hormone."
- Increased positivity – Daily gratitude exercises can bring about a greater level of positive feelings, according to researchers from the University of Miami and the University of California, Davis who studied this process in 157 individuals over 13 days.
- Boost to the immune system – The IgA antibody, which serves as the first line of defense against pathogens, increases in the body.
- Emotional "compound interest" – The accumulated effect of sustained appreciation and gratitude is that these feelings, and coherence, are easier to recreate with continued practice. This is because experiencing an emotion reinforces the neural pathways of that particular emotion as it excites the brain, heart and nervous system. The downside is that you also can reinforce negative emotions."