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This special time of Thanksgiving gives us an opportunity to press the pause button and take stock of the blessings in our lives. It is a time when we can notice and be grateful for a job and roof over our heads, a loving God, good health, cherished friends, a loving pet, and companion, grandchildren, freedom, and life itself.

Being in the state of gratefulness brings in positive, healing energy that nourishes us deep in our souls. Not only does it feel good to be grateful, it is good for our health too. Thousands of years of literature talk about the benefits of cultivating gratefulness as a virtue, essential to health and well-being according to University of California psychology professor Robert Emmons. 

According to research, grateful people take better care of themselves and participate in healthy behaviors like regular exercise, a healthy diet, and regular check-ups.  Gratitude can also help us better manage stress, and cope with daily problems.   Gratefulness produces more optimism too, and that boosts our immune system.

So how do we cultivate gratitude?  We can begin by keeping a “Gratefulness Journal”.  Keep it on your bed stand, and every evening before you go to sleep, write something for which you are grateful. For example, I am grateful for my health, freedom, job, children, pet etc.  If you are facing a challenging situation, reframe it by looking at the positives and opportunities in it, like learning to manage stress, or learning new skills etc.  Also, each evening, write down the happiest moment of your day.  In doing this, you get in the habit of looking for happy moments rather than dwelling on the negatives, and this helps our overall well-being.

By the way, how many times have you stopped and expressed gratitude for being able to resist that dish of ice cream, piece of cake, or other food you should not eat?  When was the last time you felt good about exercising, doing a distasteful but necessary task, or just being nice when you are having one of those days? Remember to express gratitude in all things.

Happy Thanksgiving to you!
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