Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by on Oct 10, 2011 in Health, How-To's | Comments Off on Happy Thanksgiving!

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~ image by cbicenhour ~

Being Grateful is Important for our Well-being.

It’s Thanksgiving and a time for me to be grateful for all that the universe has offered. I’ve been sharing with friends and family, and now I share with you, that I’m thankful for amazing friendships and family. I’ve been quietly contemplating the wonders of fresh food, air and water and how they enable everything on this planet to thrive. What are you thankful for?

I’ve also been thinking about how counting our blessings is key to our overall well-being. This idea may be conventional wisdom to some and new-age myth to others. How does gratitude fit into your life?

At least one scientific review finds evidence that gratitude is strongly related to well-being, levels of stress, and sleep. Wood et al. (2010) found that people who practiced gratitude had fewer symptoms and lower stress levels. They also sleep for longer durations, and felt more refreshed upon waking. Researchers speculate that gratitude directly leads to increased well-being.

How can we practice gratitude? The possibilities are endless, but they generally fit within a few distinct categories. Of course, if you think of an entirely new category and an example, please suggest!

  • Gratitude lists. Diaries and journals make great tools for developing our sense of gratitude and to explore ideas in a safe and private environment.
  • Grateful contemplation. Similar to gratitude lists, grateful contemplation is easy to do anytime, anywhere.
  • Behavioural expressions of gratitude. If gratitude is towards someone or something, why not share it with that very thing or person? Invite someone for a tea or coffee, write a letter, or make a phone call. Face-to-face interactions are especially powerful because  we can acknowledge the gratitude instantly and give the other person to share their gratitude. Adapted from Wood et al. (2010)

Gratitude is a powerful and affirming practice. If it can affect our health so strongly, wouldn’t it be worthwhile to make it an everyday practice? Thanksgiving is only once a year, but we can give thanks anytime.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Dr. Leo


What are other people saying about gratitude?








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