November is the time of the year when many of us consider all the things for which we have to be grateful. While this should be done every single day, despite the time of year, it is nice that we remember to stop and find gratitude for our blessings. 

This is also a great time to reflect on the many things our bodies can do. Some of us may be afflicted with chronic pain or an injury that is keeping us from doing the things we most love. No matter what, our bodies are still doing amazing things every day, and for that, we should be grateful. 

Here are ten things your body provides that deserves applause and respect.

  1. Your heart is beating. Your amazing heart is pumping blood throughout your body, every second of every day, at a rate of about 35 million times each year. That in and of itself deserves a standing ovation.
  2. Your lungs allow your body to take in air, which is critical for life. The tiny hairs (cilia) filter out particles to help keep your lungs clean and functioning properly. An average body takes in 16 breaths a minute. That comes to around 8.5 million each year. Take a deep breath in and then let it out in celebration of your lungs.
  3. You have a functioning brain! You are able to think and reason. You are able to problem-solve. You are able to love and grieve. All because you have a brain. At the end of a long day, you may love your bed, but your bed will never love you back because it is without a brain. Cheers to the brain!
  4. You have more than 600 muscles in your body and they are responsible for more than pumping iron! Muscles are the only tissue in the body that can contract, which allows it to move other parts of the body – this includes helping your heart pump blood throughout your body. They allow you to twist and reach for things we desire. They allow you to dress and make food and drive a car. We can wish for six-pack abs, but be grateful for having muscles, no matter what shape they are in!
  5. Without bones and joints, you would be a blob…literally. Your bones and joints give your body a structural framework and allow us to move. Movement is a blessing all to its own. Anyone who has had a movement impeding injury can attest to how debilitating this can be and how frustrating it can be to depend on someone else for daily activities. Give yourself a pat on the back, an activity you wouldn’t be able to do without bones and joints! 
  6. This time of the year when illnesses are going around, be grateful for having an immune system. While you will inevitably get sick at some point, because of your immune system, you can heal.
  7. Celebrate your taste buds. Each one contains 50-100 taste receptor cells. Each meal we have is a blessing. The fact that we can taste sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami (considered savory or meaty) is a wonder. Remember that when you sit down to eat. Close your eyes when you take your first bite to give your food (and your taste buds) the full attention and respect they deserve.
  8. You have eyes! Your eyes allow you to see the world in which you live. Central Oregon is full of some of the most awe-inspiring sites in the world. Without your eyes, you would need your other senses to appreciate their beauty. Celebrate them. 
  9. Imagine how we’d look without skin! Skin is your body’s largest organ. Your skin protects you from the elements and helps your body maintain the right temperature. The skin allows you to feel different sensations, such as touch, heat, and cold. When you step outside and feel the cool air on your skin, give thanks for the protection it provides you. 
  10. You have arms that allow you to hug someone you love. They allow you to drive a car and hold a cup of coffee. Your arms allow you to put on your shoes and walk the dog. They help you balance when you are walking on uneven terrain. Give someone a high five and give thanks for having arms.