Happy Thanksgiving: The Healing Powers of Gratitude

two puppies. One with a small basket handle in his mouth. In the basket are various Thanksgiving goodies and kitten just in front of the basket

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

I have a gift for you that could change your life.

Previously, I have shared elements with you regarding happiness centering on the course on “Happiness” at Yale University that over half the students at Yale take. Why does Yale offer the course? Someday these students will be national leaders. Yale wants their students to take the learning from this course to share with others going forward.

This course ties into the neuroscience study of the brain offered in lay terms from the Greater Good Science Center. Recently others have reached out to me including a medical doctor, Dr. Suja Johnkutty,  sharing further insights on this topic. This blog shares additional depth into the powers of gratitude and healing. I am sending this out to my Constant Contact friends as a Happy Thanksgiving hello wishing everyone a:

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

Gratitude

 

 

Most people think of gratitude as being thankful for things we receive from others. In this instance gratitude is being defined more broadly as

“an appreciation for our abundance”.

Let’s face it we live in the richest country in the world and we have tremendous freedoms. More importantly look at your life. What are you lacking in terms of food, water, shelter, friends, family, relationships etc.?

What are your priorities? We all have at least three. Mine are faith, family and fun. Reflect on your priorities and what you are grateful for as they relate to yours

I belong to a caring, loving Christian faith community, have a functional loving family, and am blessed to have fun with my professional speaking, consulting, and writing as well as with my volunteer and community activities. What do you have to be grateful for? 

Focusing daily on what you are grateful for actually provides tangible medically documented benefits.

We don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving Day to be grateful. We are better off if we are thankful every day.

 

Gratitude benefits based on science

 

From neuroscience and the medical community how, we look at the world around us affects our health. If we reflect daily on what we are grateful for, this actually has a positive impact on our health.

Dr. Suja Johnkutty in her article offers studies conducted in Switzerland with ages 18 to 82 and on athletes reflecting on their gratitude towards their coaches. These studies indicated that

 

people that reflected on gratitude had a strong causality of “getting sick less often, sleep better, and feeling better about one’s life as a whole” and athletes had “more energy, enthusiasm, determination, focus on their sport, as well as better resilience during trying times”. 

By focusing on what we are thankful for we can heal other shortcomings from our past. Its really a mental thing. It is simply up to you. Take a look at her article and see her insightful commentary. She offers insights on what gratitude does to your brain, and by being grateful we are more accepting. By practicing mindfulness and awakening our sense of wonder we look at the world differently. She offers her own insights on how to practice gratitude. Check out her article for further insights.

Dr. Lisa Firestone offers additional insights in her article “The Healing Power of Gratitude” in Psychology Today. She provides insights on scientific studies that demonstrate those that focus on gratitude have:

There are no downsides. 

With that I want to share one habit with you that I find particularly helpful.

 

One habit for you

 

Recently I was asked to be a contributor to a book entitled 1Habit: 100 Habits from the Happiest Achievers on the Planet by Steven Samblis. This was literally the one habit I offered to this text:

 

TAKE FIVE MINUTES FOR GRATITUDE AT THE BEGINNING OF YOUR DAY

 

By Michael Gregory, - International Speaker, Qualified Mediator and Negotiator

 

Why: It turns out that if we take just five minutes at the beginning of our day to reflect on what we are grateful for our brains begin to produce chemicals and hormones that stay with us for up to 8 hours. This helps us have a much better perspective on ourselves and our day.

 

Gratitude is the first pillar of the five pillars for happiness according to the class on happiness offered at Yale University. This is reinforced by the neuroscientists at the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkeley and their analysis of gratitude. When we affirm the many gifts we have received that are outside of ourselves, and we take the time to reflect on these gifts, at the beginning of our day, we enable various chemicals and hormones into our blood stream that allows us to have a much better attitude for the day. Reflect on gratitude daily at the beginning of your day, and you are far more likely to have a better day.

 

 

I wrote this because I feel strongly about this habit, I know it works and I wanted to share it with others to help them too. I am giving this to you this Thanksgiving as a Thanksgiving gift to help you too. 

 

You can take it from here

 

With prayer, reflection, mediation and mindfulness it is possible to calm ourselves and let go of our concerns. For me I give them up to God.

 

This clears my prefrontal cortex. It is like rebooting your computer. This gives me inner peace. I am offering this as a way that works for me and suggesting you find a way that works for you. This makes my life much happier. I am calmer. I have a greater inner peace. I pray that you can find yours too.

By starting your day with gratefulness and by taking ten minutes a day during the day or at the end of your day to pray, reflect or mediate you may be very surprised how this can help you be calmer, look at the world differently and have a much better life. 

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours as you celebrate Thanksgiving this week. Take some time to reflect on what you are grateful for. Start yourself off with one habit going forward. Thanksgiving is a great day to start with gratitude and then apply what is presented here for the rest of your life.

 

 

Peace to you my friend

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

About the author

 

Mike is a professional speaker, negotiator and mediator. You may contact Mike directly at mg@mikegreg.com and at (651) 633-5311. Mike has written 11 books including Business Valuations and the IRS: Five Books in One, The Servant Manager and Peaceful Resolutions that you may find helpful. [Michael Gregory, ASA, CVA, NSA, MBA, Qualified Mediator with the Minnesota Supreme Court]