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Gratitudes Magnitude

by Anne Blaine on 2023-11-20T08:00:00-07:00 | 0 Comments

We’re approaching the time of year when we’re all encouraged to ‘count our blessings’ This may seem like a trivial act, but evidence proves otherwise. Studies have indicated an association between gratitude and well-being. Being grateful can lift spirits, improve sleep, mood, immunity, self-esteem, relationships, decrease stress, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and risk of disease. Sounds like a magic cure-all, doesn’t it?! 

Gratitude is appreciating what you have instead of reaching for something new. It is a different perspective, one in which you refocus on what you have instead of what you lack. Gratitude enables you to see the good happening around and to you even when things aren’t necessarily going your way. 

Gratitude is often called a practice because it is something that takes time to cultivate and to reap the rewards of. Researchers agree that in order to see the benefits of a gratitude practice, it must be practiced daily, not just at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Even devoting just a few minutes a day can be beneficial. If you begin to incorporate gratitude into your daily life, you will begin to value the goodness in your life, see a bigger picture, and navigate adversity with greater resilience. Taking a moment to be grateful can even cause physiological changes in your body that initiate the parasympathetic nervous system - the part of your nervous system that helps you to ‘rest and digest’. In this way, being thankful can reduce your blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing to enhance overall relaxation. 

There are many ways to incorporate gratitude into your daily life. Some suggestions include: 
-Write thank you notes
-Say ‘thank you’ and then pause to really feel gratitude 
-Thank someone mentally 
-Keep a gratitude journal. One strategy is to write down three good things from your day and the causes of those things)
-Meditate (see the previous blog post A Case for Mindfulness) 

Don’t fret if you’re feeling like you don’t have anything to be grateful for. You probably don’t have to look that far, some everyday things you could focus on are: 
-Your health 
-A friend who has always been there for you 
-A barista who remembers your order or who asks you how you are
-A partner who supports you 
-A family member who loves you 
-The sunshine
-Memories- you can be thankful for past experiences 
-Your pet 

It can be easy to get overwhelmed or bogged down by the negatives or hardships in life. November is a good time for a reminder that noticing the good things in our lives is a good practice, one that can benefit our mental and physical wellbeing all year round.





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