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The Gratitude Exercise for Health

by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | November 27th, 2016

The Gratitude Exercise for Health

A few months ago, I participated in a gratitude exercise with two of my colleagues. Every evening for one month, we texted each other three things that we were grateful for on that particular day. You were not allowed to repeat what you had texted previously and you did not comment on what was texted. It was truly a wonderful experience.

Expressing gratitude was not new for me. I often write in my journal what I was grateful for during the day but I have to admit I was in the habit of repeating items – I was grateful for my family, I was grateful for my friends and I was grateful for my patients. These three items were repeated about five times during the month and I have to admit that I would skip some days writing in my journal.

With this exercise, I was accountable to my colleagues and if anyone missed a day, the next day they would write six things rather than three to make up for the day that was missed. Since I could not repeat anything, I began to appreciate the simple things that I took for granted – a delicious meal, a hot shower or a nap on a Sunday afternoon.

Gratitude has a positive impact on health. It causes people to be in a better mood, sleep better and have less fatigue. It has been shown to reduce stress and boost the immune system. It decreases the hormones related to inflammation in our body. I know that after my 30 day exercise I felt great. I had more energy and I was happier.

For the month of December, I challenge each of you to find two other people to engage in the gratitude exercise. It can be your coworkers, friends or relatives. You will text them each evening with three things that you are grateful for that day. It is a good idea to set a time when it should be sent in the evening – for example, no later than 8:00 pm since some may not want to be disturbed late at night. Remember, you cannot repeat what you have already texted previously and there is no need to comment on what was texted; it is not a time to get into a texting conversation. You may choose to discuss at another time. You will be doing this every night including weekends and holidays. I promise by the end of the month you will notice a positive change in you.

I have mentioned in the past, “expressing gratitude every day is like singing a love song to your soul” – get ready to feel the music.

 

 

 

 

 

2 Responses to “The Gratitude Exercise for Health”

  1. Chinwe Okpalaoka says:

    I can attest to the effect that this exercise has on my joy meter:-)

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The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

The second half of the book briefly discusses the most common gynecological conditions and also provides an overview of sexually transmitted infections. A list of annotated websites dealing with the different topics in the book is provided for the reader who wants to pursue each subject in depth.




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