Thanksgiving: the start of the holiday season where we take time from our busy lives to be with family and friends and recognize all we have to be thankful for.
Did you know, though, that being grateful can actually affect your health? Researchers from UC Davis show that gratitude is associated with better cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, lower inflammation, lower levels of creatine (indicator of kidney health), boosts the immune system, and lowers cortisol (a stress hormone). With such benefits, it makes sense to exercise your gratitude muscles daily instead of just a few times per year. Follow our tips to do just that!
- Keep a Gratitude Journal: every day, write down three things you’re grateful for- it can be for a person, place, something that happened that day or earlier in the week- anything!
- Tell Someone “Thank You”: showing your appreciation to others will not only enhance your own feelings of gratitude but will also cultivate positive feelings in the other person, making it a win-win!
- Meditate: take 5 to 10 minutes to sit quietly and focus on what you’re grateful for. Think about why you’re grateful for these things and how they enrich your life.
- Pray: if you’re religious, take time during your day to cultivate gratitude through prayer.
- Keep a Grateful Mindset: if ever you start to think or say something negative, stop and replace it with a positive, grateful thought. By lessening the negativity in your life, you leave more room for gratitude and positivity.
- Gratitude Jar: decorate a jar so it stands out and keep it someplace you’ll see it multiple times throughout the day. Once or twice per day, place some change or a dollar in it when you’re feeling grateful. Once the jar is full, donate it- your gratitude is now helping others!
- Smile: especially in stressful situations, disrupt those negative feelings with a smile (hold for at least 17 seconds!) and set a positive intention. It will help shift your mindset and alter your brain chemistry to produce feelings of happiness.
Put a few of these tips into practice daily- “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for”- Zig Ziglar.
Happy Thanksgiving from our CANH Family to yours!
Written by: Dr. Blaire Maliwat, ND, LAc, RDN
Photo courtesy of Canva