Gratitude is the Secret to Health

As of 2013, the average life expectancy of men in Korea is 77 years and that of women 84 years. Those of you who exceeded these numbers should be grateful.People in the olden day lived much shorter. The first national survey on the average lifespan of Koreans was conducted in 1926 during the Japanese occupation. It revealed people on average lived 34 years. It is also said that 27 kings from the Joseon Dynasty lived on average 47 years. At the time, the king had some of the most reputable doctors as private physicians and received constant care eating the best food, drinking the best herbal tonics, and taking the best medicines. Nevertheless, they only lived up to 47 years. It is only within the last one hundred years that the average life expectancy of humans exceeded 50 years. From 15thand 18th century in France, the average lifespan was around 25years and in the late 19th century in Europe it was only 37 years. In the early 20th century in the U.S., the average life expectancy was no more than 45 years. One of the things we must be grateful for is that we live on average 70 to 80 years.

It is especially God’s blessing that we live long years without major physical ailments. It must be mentioned, however, that even major physical ailments can be cured through gratitude. There is was a well-known American entrepreneur named Stanley Tam. In 1976, he was diagnosed with stage III spinal tumors. It was incurable either by surgical or medical remedies. Just as people predicted his imminent death, he fully recovered a few months later. When asked how he was cured, Tam said he simply thanked God. In spite of having been told by the doctor that he only had a few months to live, he thanked God for his disease and left everything in God’s hand. As he rendered sincere gratitude unto God, tumors died away.

Giichi Kawakami, an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy during the World War II, returned home after the war and grew extremely fretful and angry in his daily life. Eventually, he became paralyzed and lost control over his body. As he visited a psychiatrist named Fuchida, he was told to repeat “Thank you” ten thousand times before going to bed. Kawakami repeated “Thank you” every night. Because he said “Thank you” continually, gratitude became his daily habit. Then, one day his son brought two persimmons to him and said “Father, please eat these.” Kawakami said thank you and tried to reach out to the persimmons.Miraculously, his arm and hand moved and his neck became less stiff. The simple repetition of “Thank you” finally gave him a reason to be thankful for and cured his disease. Most human diseases arise from stress and stress arises from wounds of the heart and negative thoughts. Gratitude can overcome stress and all kinds of diseases.

Dr. Euishin Edmund Kim, who served as a tenured professor at the world’s leading MD Anderson Cancer Center for 32 years, says faith is effective against cancer. He compared natural killer T cells in both church choir members and non-believers and noticed the number of the cells in church choir members exceeded a thousand times that of non-believers. This illustrates the health benefit of living everyday in praise of thanksgiving. Gratitude reduces stress levels, strengthens the immune system, boosts energy, and accelerates healing. In addition, it is said to lower blood pressure and aids digestion by improving emotional health. In 1998, Drs. Harold G Koenig and David Larson from Duke University conducted a study and found that church attenders live up to seven years longer than non-attenders.

The renowned 19th British preacher Dr. John Henry Jowett said “Gratitude is a vaccine, an antitoxin, and a antiseptic.” More effective than cold medicine is gratitude medicine. Gratitude and joy strengthen our immune system. We must take daily not cold medicine but gratitude medicine. It is said that if we smile and remain happy and thankful for one minute our body forms antibodies that function actively for 24 hours. By contrast, if we vent our anger for a minute, our immune system is weakened for six hours. If we remain happy and thankful and take gratitude medicine, we can maintain the healthy body and mind. In theJewish book of ethics called Pirkei Avot, it says “Who is rich? He who is satisfied with his lot, as it is said: ‘When you eat the toil of your hands you are fortunate and it is good for you’ (Psalms 128:2). ‘You are fortunate’ — in this world; ‘and it is good for you’ — in the World to Come.” Therefore, let us always render unto God our sincerest gratitude.

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