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Thanksgiving and Gratitude EP016

Thanksgiving and GratitudeGratitude is a word that is often trotted out and talked about around the holidays. What is it really? And why is it a good idea to practice gratitude. It’s actually very good for you. Listen in to learn why.

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Transcript

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Thanksgiving.

The first Thanksgiving took place in 1621. The Pilgrims and the Indians had a large meal together to celebrate a successful harvest. Thus began a tradition that is still celebrated today.

It’s always a good time of year to think about all that we have and give thanks for it.

In a word: GRATITUDE

It’s easy to say to practice gratitude. And there’s certainly enough people talking about the practice of gratitude this time of year.

I want to go a little deeper. I want to talk about gratitude, what it is, and why it’s a good practice.

It turns out that gratitude can actually be healing. I’ll explain that in a minute.

But first, let’s define gratitude. According to Dr. David Hamilton, who is the author of “The Little Book of Kindness” and “How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body

“(G)ratitude is simply the art of saying a deep thank you to life for what you have.
Further. It’s actually appreciating it on a meaningful emotional level that you can really feel throughout your body and being.”

WHY GRATITUDE IS GOOD FOR YOU

Dr. Hamilton and also gives us three reasons why gratitude is good for us.

The first one is that gratitude makes us happier.

He talks about a study where they divided people into two groups, and they had each group make a list every day for 10 weeks, the first group made a list of their blessings. While the second group made a list of their hassles or burdens. And after 10 weeks of doing this recording of their blessings or burdens, it turns out the blessings group was 25% happier than the burdens group.

Isn’t it fascinating that the daily practice of gratitude can make us feel happier? That alone is a good reason to make gratitude a habit.

But there’s more.

Gratitude can help us achieve. Focusing on things we’re grateful for, helps us to notice even more things that we’re grateful for. We become more attuned to the blessings instead of the burdens of life.

Shifting your focus to gratitude, the things and people you’re grateful for, increases your positive feelings. It increases your creativity, and it makes you feel more energetic. You begin to see more of the opportunities in your life. And ultimately, you achieve more of what you want in life.

There’s one more: Gratitude is good for your heart.

Gratitude counteracts stress. Ultimately, it’s beneficial to your cardiovascular system. Stress, whether it’s mental or emotional, can increase the levels of stress hormones and free radicals, and ultimately, inflammation. All of those – the stress hormones, the free radicals and the inflammation – can lead to cardiovascular disease. So a regular practice of gratitude can lead to improved cardiovascular health.

PRACTICING GRATITUDE

Now that you know the benefits of gratitude, how can you have more of it? The answer is, of course, to practice.

There’s many ways to do that. Some suggest that you keep a gratitude journal. And while that’s a good idea, it doesn’t have to be a formal journal. You might write it on the back of receipts or scraps of paper that you have lying around. But the important part is that we have that practice of acknowledging and recording the things or people were grateful for. It could be related to ordinary events or personal gifts or attributes, or the people who have touched you today. The key is that is a practice something you do every day.

What am I thankful for?

  • Today, I’m thankful for my husband and my family.
  • I’m thankful for my health.
  • I’m thankful for my two cats and the joy that they bring me.
  • I’m thankful for the technology that allows me to connect with so many people.
  • And for everyone who’s listening to this podcast.

What are you thankful for?

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