I'm sure that you agree that it's usually better to feel grateful than not. But did you know that gratitude may actually affect your health?
It's true. Research has shown that feelings of gratitude have been linked to better health, sounder sleep and lower rates of anxiety and depression. People who feel grateful also tend to be happier with their lives, and kinder to friends, family and partners. So giving thanks for the good things in our lives can help not only us, but those around us.
One way that may help increase your feelings of gratitude is to serve others. Giving back to your community has many rewards, but one of the best is the ways in which it helps us count our blessings.
At our Fall Sacred Path Men's Retreat I mentioned during our Sunday community gathering that one of our young men, Artwan Green, could use some financial support to assist him with his monthly expenses until he completes the next semester in May. He's attending New Mexico State University. He's been a member of our community since he attended his first Call to Adventure Retreat when he was 11 years old. He is now 23 and is on target to graduate next Fall with an intention to attend medical school.
We calculated that Artwan needs about $1,000 extra per month to make ends meet. Our hope was that several of our men could offer some support on a monthly basis from November through May to help him finish up this school year so that he doesn't fall behind requiring that he take a semester off to secure more work. His student aid will not kick back in until his last semester next Fall. Right now he's working as a Dorm Resident Advisor. Last year he had a second job until it was realized that he can't have another job if he's an R.A. He is maintaining A's and B's even while he's carrying a heavy load.
Some of us signed a list at the retreat offering support. Right now we have approximately $500 pledged per month, so we're halfway there. With additional members of our community stepping up to offer additional support, the goal of $1,000 per month, from November through May, can be realized. In the spirit of the holidays as we approach Thanksgiving, whatever you can contribute, monthly, or even a one time donation, will be greatly appreciated and put to good use.
Artwan has a GoFundMe account. It was activated over the summer to help to raise funds for him and approximately $1,500 was donated which went to good use as he started the Fall semester. I want to thank you again, if you were one of the original donors. If you are able to assist him now and if you know someone who can help, please forward this message. You can make your tax deductible donation(s) directly through accessing this link.
With immense gratitude for your consideration of our united efforts on behalf of a brother. I believe that those of you who have come to know Artwan have witnessed the manifestation of his impeccable intentions take form through skillful actions creating exemplary results. He is certainly a spiritual warrior on the Sacred Path.
Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!
Stephen J. Johnson Ph.D., LMFT
Men's Center of Los Angeles