April 19, 2022
by Guest User

My family moved around a lot when I was growing up.  I was involved in the Boy Scout program. I enjoyed scouting, getting outside, going camping and backpacking.  I learned many skills I have used throughout my life.  I had worked towards completing the requirements to earn the Eagle Scout award but it was difficult to be consistent when we moved so often.  The 18th birthday is the deadline for completing the requirements for Eagle Scout.  At 17 and a half years old I was close but had one of the most difficult requirements left to complete, the Eagle project.  I had pretty much given up when an older man I didn’t really know approached me at church and offered encouragement and his help with completing the requirements and submitting the paperwork.  Without his help and encouragement, I wouldn’t have completed my goal to be an Eagle Scout.

I am grateful for his help.  He helped changed the course of my life and opened many doors and opportunities to work with and give back to youth and to continue my quest for outdoor adventures.  About 20 years after that encounter, I had the opportunity to find the gentleman that had influenced my life in such a profound way with his simple service all those years earlier.  I expressed my gratitude for his kindness and service and tried to convey how that one act had put me on a path of service to others in an attempt to pay it forward.  He has since passed away but I will always remember the twinkle in his eye and the humble manner in which he had listened to my stories and expressions of gratitude for his help.

We have been through a couple of difficult years where life and work has changed as a result of the COVID pandemic.  Now is a good time to be thankful and grateful for where we are and what we have.  A colleague mentioned an article containing information about several studies showing that those with an attitude of gratitude are more optimistic and feel better about their lives. Some of the statistics mentioned are:

  • Gratitude is related to a 10% improvement in sleep quality and 19% lower depression levels for patients with chronic pain.

  • Gratitude is related to 23% lower levels of stress hormones (cortisol).

  • Practicing gratitude led to a 7% reduction in biomarkers of inflammation in patients with congestive heart failure.

  • Grateful people have 10-16% lower blood pressure.

  • Writing letters of gratitude reduced feeling of hopelessness in 88% of suicidal inpatients and increased levels of optimism in 94% of them.

  • Other studies show how gratitude can improve relationships.  Individuals who took time to express gratitude for their partner felt more positive toward the other person and also felt more comfortable expressing concerns about their relationship.

Expressing gratitude to others also provides encouragement and improves the life of those we are grateful for.


How Can We Put Gratitude Into Practice?

  1. Write a thank-you note.

  2. Express your gratitude to those around you

  3. Keep a regular gratitude journal

  4. Count your blessings daily

  5. Meditate/Pray

These types of activities, if practiced consistently, serve to make gratitude a natural part of your day, will improve the quality of your life dramatically and could possibly just make another person’s day a lot better.