There were many stories of heroism, compassion and selflessness coming to light last week on Remembrance Day. Similar accounts have been shared in the wake of the Queensland floods and cyclones earlier this year, involving volunteers, emergency services personnel and people who just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
Time and time again our hearts are warmed on hearing such accounts, and Australians rightly place great value on these acts of kindness by people who go beyond the call of duty. And we’re pleased to thank them by publicly recognising their heroism.
A special day for thanksgiving is not traditional in Australia, although other parts of the world celebrate Thanksgiving Day around this time of year. However, I’ve discovered that being grateful is both uplifting and even health-giving. Who wouldn’t want more of that?
Gratitude is central to nearly all religions, yet many people these days see it as a trite and sentimental notion. In his inspiring book, Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, psychologist Robert Emmons cites new research on how saying “thank you” can measurably increase our happiness. He refers to an earlier study published in 2003 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that found that participants who kept weekly ‘gratitude journals’ felt better about their lives as a whole and were more optimistic about the coming week; also they exercised more regularly and reported fewer physical symptoms compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events instead. The same researchers have reported that while grateful people don’t deny or ignore the negative aspects of life, they tend to report positive emotions, life satisfaction, and vitality as well as greater optimism and lower levels of depression and stress than people who are not grateful.
I’ve noticed that gratitude is often the catalyst that brings healing into my life. For instance, stress and anxiety have lessened when I’ve changed my attitude to someone from resentment for their comments to being thankful for their creativity, intelligence and community-mindedness; or when I’ve stopped belittling myself and been grateful instead for that unique ability I have. At one stage I did keep a gratitude journal. Grateful thoughts healed me of grief over the loss of my baby and opened up new horizons.
So, here’s my gratitude list for today. I’m grateful:
- that despite the media fuss, our Federal and State politicians are committed to making a difference for the community;
- for our servicemen, servicewomen and our emergency services personnel;
- for the super-committed and dedicated teachers;
- that media people are dedicated to uncovering the truth;
- for my wonderful family and friends; and especially the smiles of my grandkids as we bob around in the community swimming pool in 33 degree heat;
What will be on your list today?
Media Spokesperson and Legislative Liaison for Christian Science in Queensland
I look for opportunities to provide a spiritual perspective to current events, offer findings on current scientific research in the field of spirituality and health, and give accurate information to the public about Christian Science and its founder Mary Baker Eddy.