The Practice of Gratitude
Did you know that there are health benefits to practicing gratitude?
Research shows that the those who regularly practice gratitude have an increased blood flow to the area of the brain controlling eating, drinking, sleep, metabolism and stress levels. The heightened stimulation also results in the production of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that produces the “feel good” sensation.
What are some things that we can do this Thanksgiving season to give thanks?
- Make a gratitude list - Write down what you are grateful for and let it be a powerful tool in transforming a day that you might struggle into one for which you are thankful. Reflect on what you have that makes you grateful – your loved ones, shelter, or just life itself. When you are having a stressful day, look at your list and be thankful.
- Find opportunity in challenges - Challenges in life are often perceived as negative, but you can transform them into a learning opportunity. Having a more positive mindset can set you free from negativity and turn you into a more positive person.
- Focus on what you do have - With the constant presence of social media, we often compare ourselves to others and the things we may be lacking. Remind yourself of what you do have and be grateful for and focus on these instead.
Through all our hardships, being able to give freely of ourselves with a positive attitude helps us to build patience, stay humble, develop a grateful heart and have hope for the future.
Some other ways we can show our gratitude is by
- Take time to appreciate nature - Get out and go for a nice stroll - Fill your lungs with fresh air and soak in your natural surroundings. Appreciate the beauty of this earth and all its surroundings.
- Show gratitude by simply being present - put away your phones and step away from technology or anything that can distract you and just be present in the moment by spending time with each other and sitting around the dinner table is such a wonderful experience and creates memories that last forever.
- Bringing thanks to your Thanksgiving table: cooking with the family - Perhaps this is something that you already do or maybe you are the one who does most of the cooking with the family. If not, however, you should definitely try it out this year.
Helping with cooking shows that you love and care about your family, and it’s a great way to spend time together while you show gratitude on Thanksgiving and every day. Thanks to the cooking you all do together, Thanksgiving will become even more of a family gathering, and your family will be grateful for your help, too! Check out some top Thanksgiving leftover ideas for the next day too – we’re sure you’ll need them!
Thanksgiving for support: volunteer and help those less fortunate around you or contribute towards the well being of your planet. As always, volunteering is a way to give back by helping others. Volunteering may seem to be a cliché way to take action and show gratitude, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less effective. It’s important, too, to make sure you’re volunteering for something that is meaningful to you. For example, if you are passionate about keeping the ocean clean, you can volunteer for a beach cleanup. Start getting an idea of some more volunteering ideas around you this year!
Donate to a charity of your choice this year: an important way to show gratitude - Donating is similar to volunteering. Donate to causes that you are passionate about, whether it be to help foster children or save the rainforest, for example. If you donate to something that is important to you, it will have more of an impact on you and of course, the recipients who surely need all the help they can get in difficult times.
Giving a hug - Giving thanks in 2022 to those around you can be as easy as offering a single hug - Did you know that hugging releases oxytocin and endorphins? Oxytocin is a hormone that lowers blood pressure, as well as the stress hormone cortisol. Endorphins make you “feel good,” and thus, happier. Giving thanks in 2022 doesn’t have to break the bank. Sometimes the best thing can be a simple cuddle/hug.
- Pay it forward - When you count your blessings - you will quickly realize how fortunate you really are, so why not bless someone else by paying it forward? Just an example - If you were blessed with a job then why not help someone unemployed with their resume?
- Random Acts of Kindness - Again, when you take the time to reflect on all that there is to give thanks for in your life, why not bless someone else with some of that same good fortunate by selflessly performing random acts of kindness onto others, for no other reason than just for being thankful for what you already have and sharing some of that goodness with others. For example - you can sweep a strangers walkway or pay for someone behind you at a toll or drive-thru. You could also help someone cross the street, or cook a meal for a stranger and leave it on their doorstep, and so on. There are endless ways you can perform a random act of kindness is the name of giving thanks.