I am not well-endowed with gratitude. Cynicism is my main attribute. (As a naturopathic doctor this may surprise you, but I am not mistaken for Pollyanna.) People who blink their eyes at me, smile and tell me how grateful they are make me want to beat them with a reality stick. Nothing suggests “I am searching for a lovely glass of Kool-aid and I hear Jim Jones is the best mixologist in town,” like an overly grateful person.

Berkley’s Greater Good Magazine and The American Heart Institute make an interesting argument that cynicism is not a sound prescription for health. Gratitude appears to be good for you. 

Annoying – I know.

Studies tackled the problem of analyzing gratitude through a number of different methods and often, but not always, positive results were found. Different researchers asked people to keep a gratitude journal daily, list out their “blessings” or “consciously experience appreciation” for five minutes. Gratitude may help to lower your cholesterol and blood pressure. It may elevate your quality of life and enhance your sleep.

Could gratitude be a game changer for your health? I don’t think we can say that yet, but writing down the good things in your life for 3 months isn’t the worst way to spend your time. To be generous as well as grateful, I will tell you the highlight of my upcoming week:

The Game Changers movie is going to be released on September 16th. James Cameron is, finally, going to reveal the work, the fun and the intensity of being an elite athlete who eats mostly plants in this new documentary. I have friends/compatriots who have been working on this film for years and next Monday I am going to a packed theater to see the show.

Should we now reanalyze all the old adages for possible health benefits? Does misery really love company? I don’t think that is true. Misery sounds an awful lot like miserly and miserly does not want anyone around using up resources. I think gratitude likes company but I don’t know if I am coming over for dinner quite yet.

What can I say? I feel best when seated at the devil’s advocate table. He might be vegan and he always has the best condiments.

Is Gratitude Good for Your Health?
Thankfulness: How Gratitude Can Help Your Health
Thanksgiving Science: Why Gratitude Is Good for You

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Dr. Cameron O’Connell is a Naturopathic primary care doctor with interests in longevity, endocrinology and sexual health. Dr. O’Connell hails from Alaska and spent much of her childhood improving her micro biome by playing in the forest and foraging for snacks among the edible flora. Having had variable life experiences – from working at a ski resort in Montana to acting as the Assistant Medical Director for the Engine2 Immersion Programs in 2016 – she loves meeting and helping people with a variety of backgrounds and concerns. One of Dr. O’Connell’s objectives is to meet the patient where they are at and help them to further their own health goals. She believes that the patient is an active partner in determining future wellness and it is Dr. O’Connell’s job to help them cultivate and create both patient- driven preventative medicine and client-motivated treatment for chronic conditions.


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