Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine
“Gratitude can turn common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” -- William Arthur Ward
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to spend time with family and friends to offer gratitude for all the blessings we have received. Taking a day to pause and remember those who have touched us and whom we have touched is very powerful. Take a deep breath and breathe in gratitude for all the good in your life and radiate that joy out to all beings.
Gratitude is an attitude that feels good and has many health benefits. Research has shown that cultivating a habit of gratitude contributes to our overall sense of well-being. Benefits of a daily gratitude practice are well-documented and include lower blood pressure, improved sleep, improved overall mental health, and stronger interpersonal relationships.
Cultivating a daily gratitude practice is a way to open our hearts and recognize, appreciate, and feel thankful for our simple blessings.
Some suggestions for cultivating a daily gratitude practice:
- Before you get out of bed in the morning, pause to reflect on 3 things you are thankful for. Perhaps you are thinking about the roof over your head, the bed you sleep in, the people you love.Vary them each day and besides just reciting a list, try to feel the emotion. For example, if you are thankful for the sunshine, feel the warmth of the sun on your face, or the joy its light brings you.
- Keep a gratitude journal and record ordinary moments that bring you joy, such as things your children say that warm your heart or simple gestures your partner does that bring you happiness. It helps to read these on the 'not so good days.'
- Find gratitude in negative events and be thankful for the personal growth of these challenging situations. You may say, "This too may shall pass." Let the gratitude flow through you with each breathe and with each beat of your heart.
- Remember someone in your life, a parent, a relative, a teacher, a mentor, whose wisdom and guidance may have changed the trajectory of your life. Let them know how they made a difference in your life or write them a letter. Try to dig deep and find the meaning they brought to your life and how much you appreciate them.
- Give back in a way that is meaningful, such as volunteering, saying thank you in a meaningful way, simple acts of kindness, and 'paying it forward.'
If we look around, we can find many things to be thankful for -- Things that we take for granted and blessings we don’t even regularly recognize. Whatever you decide to do, make it an ongoing habit and know for sure that that attitude of gratitude will bring you much happiness in your life.