Appreciation Improves Health Results
Though there are many different lists of human virtues, some of the most commonly cited include courage, compassion, patience, forgiveness, honesty, and humility. Virtues are often thought of as positive character traits that help us to live moral and fulfilling lives. They are often seen as habits or qualities that we aspire to, in order to become better people. While some virtues may come more naturally to some than others, it is generally believed that all virtues can be cultivated through effort and practice. Thus, developing virtues can be an important part of our journey toward becoming the best version of ourselves.
Scientific evidence confirms this
A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that certain human virtues may be good for our health. Specifically, studies have found that qualities such as compassion, gratitude, and forgiveness can improve our physical and psychological well-being.
- People who are more compassionate tend to have lower levels of stress and anxiety, which can protect against cardiovascular disease.
- Gratitude has been linked to increased happiness and life satisfaction, as well as better sleep and immune function.
- Forgiveness has been associated with lower blood pressure, less depression and anxiety, and fewer symptoms of stress.
Thus, it appears that cultivating positive character traits not only benefits our mental health but also our physical health. Therefore, striving to become a more virtuous person may be one of the best things we can do for our overall well-being. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/forgiveness-your-health-depends-on-it
Appreciation is the antidote to life’s injuries
In my view, one of the most important human virtues is appreciation. This involves actively noticing and recognizing the good things in our lives, whether it be the beauty of nature, a kind deed done by someone, or our own personal achievements. It’s worthwhile to appreciate yourself too. Practicing appreciation can greatly improve our overall health and mental fitness as it helps to decrease stress and increase feelings of gratitude and contentment. So what are you proud of today? What small deed or kindness was bestowed upon you and you want to pass on the kindness to others?
Additionally, expressing appreciation to those around us can strengthen relationships and promote positivity in both ourselves and others. So take some time today to reflect on the things you are grateful for and express appreciation for all that you have. Remember, a simple “thank you” can go a long way. We can feel gratitude inside our bodies and express appreciation by paying it forward. Hey, we can make the world a better place! The key is to make it a habit. We should make appreciation easy and frequent if we want to feel better.
Now, the next step is to appreciate the lessons learned when things don’t go our way. This is a little more difficult and requires more commitment to the betterment of our species. As an example. I hit my thumb with a hammer and it hurts! But look, I have a thumbnail protecting this important appendage. Had it not been for those fingernails, how many of us would have lost the tips of our fingers when working? Especially in the kitchen with those sharp knives! Appreciate what you have even within the complex design of our human bodies. None of us think about making sure our hair grows. We don’t consciously need to remember to breathe. Our heart just keeps pumping, creating a vortex of energy that moves blood to every cell in our body without conscious thought.
Placebo or Mind over Matter
The placebo effect is a fascinating phenomenon in which people experience positive results simply because they believe that a treatment will be effective. A Frenchman named Emile Coue graduated in 1876 with a degree in Pharmacy. After taking a correspondence course from New York on hypnosis and autosuggestion, he began reassuring patients of the efficacy of his prescriptions. “This is the best!” Coué noticed that in certain cases he could improve the efficacy of a given medicine by praising its effectiveness to the patient. He realized that those patients to whom he praised the medicine had a noticeable improvement when compared to patients to whom he said nothing. This began Coué’s exploration of the use of hypnosis and the power of the imagination. In 1922 Coue published ‘The Coue Method: Self Mastery through Conscious Autosuggestion.’
Here is an unabridged copy: https://archive.org/details/selfmasterythro00amergoog/page/n4/mode/2up?view=theater
Interestingly, Coue developed the use of hypnosis and mantras such as, “Every day in every way, I am getting better and better.” This mantra affirmatively opens the door to our subconscious mind and allows us to use the subtle influence of the autonomic nervous system to prepare for health and healing to take place.
The placebo effect can be strong enough to produce real, tangible results. For example, a study of patients with arthritis found that those who were given a placebo cream experienced a significant reduction in pain and inflammation. The power of the mind over matter is truly remarkable. In fact, in modern medicine, the placebo effect has to be discounted in clinical trials to isolate what the chemical drug is responsible for and what the placebo effect is responsible for. Generally, it is recognized that at least 30% of results are due to the placebo effect.
While the exact mechanism behind the placebo effect is still not fully understood, it is clear that beliefs and expectations play a role. When people believe that a treatment will be effective, their bodies tend to respond accordingly. The placebo effect highlights the importance of mindset in overall health and well-being. If we believe that we are healthy and happy, our bodies are more likely to reflect that belief. We are adept at seeing it in the faces of the people we know. Conversely, if we believe that we are sick or unhappy, our bodies are more likely to reflect that belief as well. Therefore, it is important to cultivate a positive outlook on life, as it can have real and tangible benefits for our health. “Hey, what’s wrong?” We’ll check in on our loved ones if we see a frown or a scowl or a pained expression on our loved one’s faces.
What Program Are You Running?
By the words we speak, by the expression on our faces, we are reacting to the programs we are running in our emotional bodies. Just like we use various programs on our phones, TVs, computers, and even our smart refrigerators now, they are designed to accomplish certain goals. Our physical bodies run intrinsic programs too. Both our genetics, the code contained in every cell, and in our epigenetics, the code, the programming we imbibe from our environment. We are running programs to first of all survive, secondly to care for others, and then a host of other human need outcomes point our way forward. As grown-up adult human beings, we have the majesty of choice in deciding which programs to run and which to shun.
The opposite of placebo is nocebo. If a doctor hands out a death sentence, “you have three months to live,” generally, the body will obey and find a way to expire in the vicinity of that date. While others disbelieve a negative diagnosis and find a way to go on living for years and even decades. Belief and alignment of beliefs have more to do with outcomes than we think.
I am the generator of my own joy.
One of the programs I like to run is contained in this affirmation: “I am the generator of my own joy.” In other words, I don’t wait for things to happen around me to be responsible for my happiness. I start the day creating my own internal joy by expressing appreciation for my health, my mind, and my heart. I spend time in the morning doing a body scan and letting every part of my body and my being know that I don’t take it for granted. I love my life and who I am and all the fun things I get to do each day. Some may say, “Great for you Garey but I have really bad back pain.” Well, I will let you know, I do too. Some days I don’t get enough sleep. Sometimes I worry about things. Don’t we all? However, none of these external things has the authority to erase this fundamental program of self-renewal. After all, it’s my personal choice. Which is why we need to talk about self-discipline.
The Need for Self-Discipline
Another human virtue that is crucial for good health is self-discipline. This involves setting and sticking to personal goals, whether it be in regard to nutrition, exercise, relationships, or overall lifestyle choices. It also includes taking responsibility for our actions and making decisions that align with our long-term well-being.
Having self-discipline can not only improve physical health but also mental health as it promotes a sense of control and organization in one’s life. So make a plan and stick to it, your body and mind will thank you for it. No one bats .1000 but if we can get close to doing the right thing most of the time, we’ll see better results in all areas of our lives.
Lastly, compassion towards oneself and others is another important human virtue for good health. This means being understanding and caring towards ourselves and those around us, treating ourselves and others with kindness and love. A very bad habit many of us learn from childhood is self-deprecation. We can confuse it with humility. Unless we learn otherwise, generally one of the human conditions we learn to engage in negative self-talk. “I can’t do that. What would people say? I don’t deserve that. I am not good enough.” This is a program we learn in childhood, as we are told a thousand times we are not good enough, smart enough, and no, no. no, you can’t do that! Start saying yes to life and opportunity. Treat yourself like you would your best friend.
Much to Reflect on
Most people would agree that there are certain virtues that are essential for a happy, fulfilling, and healthy life. These virtues are often referred to as the “primary virtues” and include items such as wisdom, courage, justice, and temperance. While the exact list of primary virtues may vary from culture to culture, they all share certain commonalities. For example, each one requires a certain amount of mental or emotional strength. Wisdom, for instance, entails making sound decisions and being able to see both the short-term and long-term consequences of one’s actions. Similarly, courage is often required in order to stand up for what is right, even in the face of opposition. Justice, meanwhile, demands that we treat others fairly and with respect. Finally, temperance helps us to control our impulses and desires, so that we can act in a rational manner. Though they may differ in some respects, the primary virtues all share a common goal: to help us lead a good, happy and healthy life. As such, they are well worth considering our level of progress in these areas.
Here are a few more virtues to ponder:
- Creativity Curiosity
- Love of Learning
- Forgiveness and mercy
- Humility and modesty
- Humor and playfulness
- Spirituality, or a sense of purpose
I’ll close this with a reminder that we offer supplements to aid in supplying nutrition that may be lacking in today’s food production systems. Big Ag as we call it, is not diversified. As a matter of governmental and business policy, we are a monoculture based on convenience. In one sense we’ve never had it so good. On the other hand, although there are 20,000 varieties of edible foods, we tend to use at most ten or fewer types of food. We can do better. If you don’t eat clean fish at least twice a week, it’s important to supplement with True Omega-3. If you are not getting enough vegetables, True Vitality would be a good idea. If you would like a free initial health coaching consultation, here’s my calendar. https://calendly.com/garey Reach out if you need encouragement or clarity on any wellness issues.
Best in Health,