An attitude of gratitude

Attitude of GratitudeSetting your sights on something other than yourself can often transform your state of mind, becoming a powerful potion for whatever ails you. And there’s science to prove it. Consider this scenario. You’re stuck in traffic. All five lanes on the freeway have quickly come to a standstill. And now, so have your plans for this evening. You start to get annoyed. Then angry. Next, worry creeps in. And that’s when your back starts to tense up. You let out a loud sigh and grit your teeth, realizing your fun night on the town will have to wait. Then, something magical happens. You look up. And around. Flickers of amber and aqua intersect with purple to produce the most inspiring sight — the setting sun. Suddenly, your shoulders relax, a smile flickers across your face and for a short time, you feel at peace.

What just happened isn’t anything new. It’s actually a tool each and every one of us has access to daily. But choosing to practice gratitude isn’t always the obvious choice. Especially in a world that waits for no one.

This hustle and bustle mindset can often steal your sense of serenity, clearing the way for stress and tension to thrive. And those most susceptible to its adverse effects are already dealing with a chronic condition — debilitating neck and back pain. That’s why an attitude of gratitude, like muscles, must be built up over time becoming strong enough to withstand life’s unpredictable patterns. So when those peaks turn into valleys, your overall health doesn’t take the tumble with it.

“We’ve studied more than one thousand people, from ages eight to 80, and found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits,” said Robert Emmons, the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude. From physical and psychological to social, there’s no denying its positive impact. And he says, it can also block out negative emotions like envy, resentment and regret. “You cannot feel envious and grateful at the same time.”

Reaching a grateful state doesn’t take long. And getting there, isn’t difficult. All you need to do is to simply start the process. Here are some tips to make it easy:

Keep a journal. Someone just sent you a nasty email. You’re about to lash back with one of your own. But before you do, whip out a journal and quickly write down five small things you’re grateful for. Doing so can send your anger on a much-needed detour and in the process, deliver that daily dose of understanding you so desperately need. What’s more, it helps put everything where it belongs — in perspective.

Give a compliment. If life’s dragging you down, why not lift someone else up with your kind words? It takes less than a minute, but showering a friend, loved one or total stranger with a genuine compliment can have long lasting effects. The next time you’re tempted to let your emotions get the best of you, change it up and send the good karma to someone else. In the course of making their day, you may just make your own, too.

Focus on those in need. Feeling sorry for yourself? Perhaps it’s time to take the focus off your own problems and reach out to those who really need help. Giving your time and talents to a worthy cause also instills a sense of purpose and compassion that far outweighs most daily challenges that come our way.

Next time you’re looking to go from feeling stressed to blessed, channel a little gratitude. It can provide the ultimate ingredient to help sweeten an otherwise sour situation. What’s more, making that turn down Appreciation Avenue often brings with it big benefits like a stronger immune system, less aches and pains, longer sleep patterns and lower blood pressure.

Health and wellness begins by cultivating gratitude. At Laser Spine Institute, we are most grateful for the more than 50,000 patients who have trusted us to help them find relief from chronic neck and back pain. If you’re still searching for a safer and more effective solution than traditional open neck or back surgery, and conservative treatments haven’t produced the results you need, contact us today.

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