Not long ago, I blogged the news that it’s better to give than to receive. Now comes the news that going to church is good for you. It’s almost like there was some kind of supernatural agency that wanted us to know how we could have better lives. (I blogged this on the web site at my church, but the original article was in the NY Times.)
Compared with a control group, the people keeping the gratitude journal were more optimistic and felt happier. They reported fewer physical problems and spent more time working out.
Further benefits were observed in a study of polio survivors and other people with neuromuscular problems. The ones who kept a gratitude journal reported feeling happier and more optimistic than those in a control group, and these reports were corroborated by observations from their spouses. These grateful people also fell asleep more quickly at night, slept longer and woke up feeling more refreshed.
Think about that: the Bible tells you to do something that will make you more optimistic and feel happier, that will help you get to sleep quicker, sleep longer, and wake up feeling more refreshed!
That’s in the Bible! It’s not just about drudgery imposed on us by a mean-spirited cosmic killjoy. In fact, it’s almost like our heavenly Father knows how to give good gifts.
This is interesting: aging adults can boost their memory just by taking a walk.
“With a limited investment of time and effort you can produce fairly dramatic improvements in memory and brain health,” senior researcher Arthur Kramer, of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, told LiveScience. “You can roll back the clock about two years.”
Physical exercise — it doesn’t have to be aerobic — seems to grow a structure in the brain called the hippocampus at a time when it normally decreases.
Maybe that’s why the Scriptures describe our life as a “walk.”