21-Days of Gratitude: Day 2

“A cheerful heart is good medicine”

It has been said that our outlook on life has a significant effect on our physical well-being. Even the American Heart Association concurs that an attitude of gratitude attributes to good and long-lasting health. But how does one have a cheerful heart you ask?

The word cheerful (cheer + -ful) is both a noun and a verb. Meaning you can be and cause others to be full of cheer, merriment, joy, energy. My mind automatically takes me to my days as a cheerleader. Good times. It did not matter how we were feeling on the game day our job was to cheer the team on and get the crowd to do the same. We’ve all seen Bring It On with Gabriel Union and Kirsten Dunst (if you haven’t, you should). Let’s just say the squad I was on was the Clovers. We knew how to get the place hype. And, in doing so, our spirits were always lifted.

The dictionary defines cheerful as pleasantly (even unrealistically) optimistic. If you’ve ever cheered for a losing team, giving them hope that there is still a fighting chance for them to win until the very end although the score and time left say differently, then you know this is the epitome of being a cheerleader. Sometimes you actually will them to victory.

What if we applied this same cheerleading concept to our own lives? After all, being cheerful doesn’t simply happen. It is a conscious and daily decision we choose to make. It is something we must practice even if it seems unrealistic. We must choose joy. And, choosing joy does not eliminate outside realities. It does, however, heal us on the inside like good medicine.

List three ways you can cheer (root for, inspire, exhort) your heart this week.

For me, it’s laughter, music/singing, and dancing.

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