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Gratitude Part 2 – Count Your Blessings

Those of you who read my first blog on gratitude, dated Sunday, November 29th, may wonder what gratitude has to do with ContemplAgeing.  Let me explain.   Gratitude is not only at the heart of spirituality in many religious and spiritual traditions.  It is also pivotal for healthy living and aging.

 This connection and conclusion were made by a fellow faculty member of the Harvard Medical School, George Vaillant, M.D, in his book entitled Aging Well: Surprising Guideposts to a Happier Life (2002).  George reviewed, researched and analyzed data from the Harvard Study of Adult Development.  On December 23, 2001, before his book was released, George published an editorial in the Boston Globe, entitled “A prescription for aging well.”  In it he wrote:

 “What’s more, the study tells us that despite what Freud said, personality is not formed by age 5 or even age 45.  After 60, age brings increasingly more adaptive coping mechanisms, a wider social awareness, and better marriages.  In short, the study participants who have aged most successfully are those who worry less about cholesterol and waistlines and more about gratitude and forgiveness.

 Gratitude is one of the cornerstones of spirituality, healthy aging, and “ContemplAgeing.”  Gratitude can become a cornerstone in your life, too, if you become aware of the many things for which you can be grateful.

 This is what happened to the famous composer-lyricist, Irving Berlin, who struggled with insomnia even as his career was peaking.  His insomnia abated not from drugs or therapy, but because of his increased awareness of gratitude.  His experience caused him to write one of his more well-known songs, “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep.”

When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep
Counting my blessings

When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep
Counting my blessings

(So) If you’re worried and you can’t sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you’ll fall asleep
Counting your blessings

Listen to it sung by Bing Crosby in the movie, “White Christmas.”  Go to the following YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWcJj5fh_7k

Posted in Gratitude on 4 December 2009
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