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Give Thanksgiving

raised hands togetherOur thoughts turn towards the holiday season and we are reminded to show appreciation and give thanks. Research has shown that practicing mindfulness and gratitude improves your health. It improves mental health, reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, improves sleep and eating habits and even managing chronic pain. It also helps better our relationships, social connections, self-esteem, and mental resilience. In other words, both physical and psychological health.

Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful, readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

Gratitude and mindfulness are associated with positivity and contentment. It helps adjust our mindset away from negativity in our environments. It helps us stay in present moment and prevents us from getting lost in our past and future thoughts. By practicing, we can shift old thought patterns that are no longer useful. Gratitude refocuses our attention to more positive and present moment consciousness. We can be kinder to others and ourselves.

Robert Emmons, psychology professor and gratitude researcher at the University of California, Davis, explains that there are two key components of practicing gratitude:

  1. We affirm the good things we have received
  2. We acknowledge the role other people play in providing our lives with goodness

Creating and cultivating a gratitude practice is simple but requires time and dedication. Fortunately, there are resources available through classes, in person and online: books, articles, videos, apps and exercise.

One of the easiest practices is to begin with is a simple breath exercise. Breathing helps bring us to present and helps us focus on the immediate. Breathe in and out, noticing the movement and then with intent, think of gratitude.

Another is to think daily of 3-5 things that you were grateful for each day. If inclined, a journal can be a simple notebook or a fancy book.

Thirdly, choose another person to share your gratitude. Sharing aloud creates wellbeing for both.

We at TIH are grateful for our clients, our staff, and families who support us. We wish you a happy, healthy holiday season. We hope you choose to exercise your mental and physical wellbeing.

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