We’ll celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend and are reminded to offer thanks for the ‘bounty’ in our lives; to reflect on the many blessings, and plant seeds for future prosperity. Every year I encourage people in the practice to share something they are grateful for on our ‘wall of gratitude’ and it’s such a beautiful thing. It becomes so much more than just the act of writing the gratitude note, because when others read all the notes on the wall, they laugh, share a sentiment, and leave with a smile on their face.
Let’s remember that this holiday is not the only time we should be practicing gratitude. It’s good for your health and something to be done on a daily basis!
Research shows the feelings associated with gratitude, appreciation, love and caring enhance health. When you find one thing, however small, to be thankful for and hold that feeling for as little as 15-20 seconds, many subtle and beneficial physiological changes take place inside you:
~ Levels of stress hormones cortisol and adrenalin decrease, supporting many organ systems and boosting your immune system
~ Coronary arteries relax, increasing the blood supply to your heart. Heart rhythms become more harmonious, affecting other organs and lifting your mood
~ Breathing becomes deeper, increasing the oxygen level of your tissues
People who regularly practice gratitude report higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy when compared to those who do not.
“A Man becomes what he thinks about all day long.”~ Ralph Waldo Emmerson
What you dwell upon expands. If you focus on what you don’t have, that’s all you will see. Focusing your thoughts on victories instead of defeats will help you develop an attitude of gratitude and a greater sense of self-worth.
Make gratitude part of your life by adopting more thankful thoughts or making the time to write them down. A powerful exercise is the use of gratitude journal to reflect on day-to-day success, or simply take a few minutes to think of 5 things you are grateful for in your life. My sons and I do this at dinner every night. They aren’t always so eager to comply, but I won’t let them eat until they each share at least 3 things they are grateful for so that usually gets the conversation started!
Before you exit this post, right now, take a couple deep breaths and think of 5 things you are grateful for. Once you start thinking about it, a funny thing happens, often you won’t stop at just 5….