12/05/2011 12:39 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Please Meditate: Give Your Body an Extra Helping of Gratitude

In laboratory studies, a gratitude practice has been shown to help one to feel more energetic, happy, optimistic, alert and determined. It can deepen and lengthen sleep. Those who practiced gratitude were found to be more effective in setting goals and attaining them. Physically, those with a gratitude practice were found to have a more regular exercise routine and reported fewer physical ailments.

Here is a very simple physical gratitude-guided meditation:

Thank your toes, feet and legs for carrying you through life. Thank your belly, back, chest and shoulders for their support. Thank your digestive organs for turning food into energy. Thank your liver and kidneys for keeping your blood clean. Thank your heart for beating, sustaining your life. Your heart keeps working, even while you rest and sleep. Have you ever thanked it for its tireless service? Give your heart some gratitude. Thank your arms and hands for all of their work: they help you drive, write, work at the computer, greet friends, embrace those you love. Thank them. Thank your neck, face and head for giving you the ability to communicate. Give your whole body gratitude for carrying you through life, for following your commands. Just for moment, keep your gratitude for your body flowing. Suspend criticism, suspend worry, and just stay in a place of gratitude for as long as you can.