Giving Thanks

Written by Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC

This is the week when many Americans give thanks for their blessings and express gratitude for many aspects of their lives. It's a great time to look back, look inside, and look ahead with thankfulness. 

Giving Thanks For Your Health

While your health may be less than perfect and there are many things that need improvement, there must be things that are going well and deserve recognition and gratitude. 

Even though we may live with chronic conditions like pain, asthma, diabetes, hypthyroidism, HIV, Hepatitis, or psoriasis, we can generally find things that are going well with our health. It's fine to acknowledge that which isn't quite right, but it's also important to focus on the things that are pretty darn good. 

Family and Friends

If your family, friends, and social life are healthy and functional, this is another area to feel grateful for. If you are in a healthy loving relationship with a caring partner, this is indeed an aspect of your life that absolutely impacts your health in a positive way. 

Relationships are important to your health, and a great deal of research shows that those of us who have many strong social connections live longer and experience more happiness along the way. Healthy relationships also decrease our stress levels (we hope!), and they provide us with the support we need in our daily lives. 

Home

A stable, warm, and happy home is another aspect of our lives that we might take for granted, especially in terms of how a healthy home impacts our health. 

Homeless people experience great stress and increased potential of mental health issues, poor control of chronic diseases, an amplified likelihood of acute illness, not to mention many other poor health outcomes. 

Having a warm home in which to rest, sleep, socialize, and recreate is not something to lightly take for granted, so consider how your home contributes to your health and well-being. 

So Much To Be Grateful For

Our lives may not be perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but focusing on our blessings can be helpful, and not just on Thanksgiving Day. 

Research shows that the practice of gratitude has many beneficial effects on both physical and mental health, so consider Thanksgiving a reminder that gratitude can actually be good for you! 

Happy Thanksgiving if you celebrate it, and if you don't, give thanks for what you have, including your health!