From your head to your toes, your body does a lot for you. Regardless of how you are feeling in this moment, what are your thoughts about your body? Are you truly thankful for everything it is doing on your behalf?
Do you appreciate your cells? Your bones? Your organs? Take the liver, for example. According to the book Own Your Own Body by Dr. Stan Malstrom, “If the functions of the liver were reproduced, it would require the equivalent space of a square block, five stories high.” Talk about awesome. The liver definitely deserves a BIG thank you—often!
Using a practice I call Body ThankYouology, you can find all sorts of ways to thank your body—any time and anywhere. I recommend practicing this daily! Try these tips and see how easy it is to think thankful thoughts that will noticeably improve your health and well-being.
Create thank-you affirmations
Affirmations communicate positive energy to your body. Here’s a simple and fun three-step process to get you started:
- Make a list from A to Z of positive adjectives such as “adorable,” “beautiful,” “exquisite,” and so on.
- Write an alphabetical list of specific parts of your body.
- Create thank-you affirmations by matching each part of your body with a corresponding adjective from your list that starts with the same letter. Example: Thank you adorable arms, beautiful brain, and happy heart.
Feel free to embellish your affirmations with profuse thank you’s, and use terms such as “grateful” and “appreciate.” The more you express your gratitude, the greater your body’s response will be. Recite your thank-you affirmations during any activity—walking, climbing stairs, driving, or doing household chores. You can even sing your affirmations, or if you enjoy writing poetry, try thank-you rhymes like this one:
Thank you to my exciting eyes.
You are both such a special prize!
Write letters of appreciation
Yes, write a thank-you letter to your body! Make this a detailed letter of gratitude and do it often, just as you would write endearing letters to a loved one. Use stationary or design your own with colored markers, stickers, and my favorite—glitter glue! When I shared this idea in a workshop, one of the participants was facing serious foot surgery. She wrote a thank-you letter to her foot and had a loved one mail it the day of the procedure. “Reading that letter of appreciation every day after surgery helped me maintain an attitude of gratitude toward my foot,” she told me, “and I believe it healed faster as a result.”
Practice grateful meditations
For a thank-you meditation, sit in a quiet space and close your eyes. Using your A-Z affirmations, start either at the top of your head or with your feet, and say “thank you” to each part of your body during a focused visualization. This is a great meditation to help you fall asleep or resume sleeping if you awaken in the night. Your body will appreciate the extra TLC.
Pay attention to your words
Be mindful what you say about your body, including describing someone as a “pain in the neck,” labeling your spine as a “bad back,” or declaring, “That makes me sick.” Is that really what you want to affirm?
Another expression worth omitting in conversation is “I would give my right arm to have_____(fill in the blank).” Personally, I won’t trade a single body part for anything. Similarly, I prefer to “live for something,” rather than “to die for” it. Even though these seem like harmless figures of speech, your body doesn’t know the difference and simply responds to what it hears.
Thank-you thoughts and thank-you words add up to positive thank-you actions toward your body. When you regularly and abundantly give your body gold stars with your thoughts and words, your feelings and actions shift accordingly. You’ll tend to make healthier lifestyle choices, eat a more nutritious diet, get more regular exercise, and drink plenty of water. The heightened awareness you develop empowers your ability to maintain a balance with the demands of your day to minimize stress, fear, and anxiety. It’s so much easier to be conscious of your breath and take the time to breathe when you feel appreciation for your body.
Start now. Start telling your body “thanks” and start seeing results today!