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Saying Thank You

With Monday having been Memorial Day, if you have not done so already, make sure you take time to stop and remember those who courageously gave their life to defend our country. It’s easy to think of the day as “just” a day off. But do we take time to reflect and pay our respects?

Going along those same lines, what if all of us were more thankful year round and made an effort to apply it to our daily routine? We all know the importance of being respectful (some more than others), but have you ever considered the health benefits? Now you may be wondering how saying thank you can be stretched into a possible health benefit.

Let me begin by saying this: you can get a research grant for virtually anything. Studies show that such gratitude would be rewarded with better health. According to researchers, people classified as “grateful” take better care of themselves, are better at dealing with stress, have better immune function, and best, enjoy life more than the rest of the population.

Thankfully, having a little gratitude is a fairly simple thing to do. A study by Hope College in Michigan and Virginia Commonwealth University researched the body’s effects on accepting a genuine apology. The research showed that a genuine apology and restitution can have a major positive effect on people. The participants that imagined receiving a genuine apology had a decrease in their heart rate and had less tension in the eye and eyebrow muscles. The participants also reported less anger, fear, sadness, more control and more forgiveness.

Another important aspect with gratitude is the basics of please and thank you. Whether you have children or not you are probably well aware of teaching moments that come with saying please and thank you. Constantly we are reminding them to have proper manners, and be respectful to others. One important question to ask ourselves is, are we practicing what we preach? There is no better teaching method than by teaching by example. This is a great opportunity to not only remind you of proper etiquette, but to reinforce the same principals to our younger generation.

So even after this Memorial Day, remember to thank our veterans and pay respect to those who have sacrificed everything. Our family has started a tradition of walking the gulch during this time. Not only is it good exercise but even better to reflect back on the day. With all the other things going on that can cause stress, isn’t it about time to remember the things we are grateful for? By doing so you are opening yourself to a whole new avenue of healthy living.

Aaron Fabel, B.A in Exercise Science and Wellness, is the CEO at the Oahe Family YMCA. He can be reached by email at ajfabel@oaheymca.org