I was sitting on my couch the other day feeling overwhelmed by my to-do list. My 4-year-old was running circles around me. The dishes and laundry sat, waiting for me to motivate. I looked down at my feet and noticed I was unconsciously doing ankle rotations. At that moment, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude toward my body for all the hard knocks it takes and for its innate ability to process them. After crossing a few items off my list, I felt revived and became curious about how this feeling of thankfulness had the ability to empower me.
It didn't take much to discover a plethora of research confirming the power of gratitude. It seems that those with a strong sense of gratitude are happier and less stressed by life experiences. In general, they are more satisfied with their lives, not because they have more, but because they are connected to the beauty in their lives.
As a massage therapist, I often work with clients who have pain. Over the years, I have noticed how some clients seem debilitated by relatively minor injuries while others can't be held back by serious or even terminal conditions. I have always known that this phenomenon was partly due to a fundamental difference in each client's perspective. In hindsight, I realize that many of the clients who retained their joy were deeply thankful for their blessings regardless of their pain. I worked with one such client who exuded the most amazing loving energy despite his terminal cancer. When asked how he kept so positive, he shared how he didn't start living until he knew he was dying. That is what it took for him to appreciate life.
I am grateful that my parents raised me to have a thankful heart, to count my blessing, not my hardships. However, it wasn't until I randomly glanced at my rotating ankles that I connected this practice with well-being. In my new awareness, and perhaps in yours, we can choose to use the power of gratitude to help clients find peace in their unique and sometimes difficult process by simply asking what they are grateful for in their lives. I think it is worth a try! What do you think?
Happy Thanksgiving and many blessings to you and yours.