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Gratitude is Good

As Frank A. Clark, the politician, said, “If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.”

Do you ever take the time to think about how lucky you are? Just a moment to take in and recognize all the beautiful and wonderful things in your life? It is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves, and for others, yet very few of us do it enough. That’s because gratitude is a conscious decision - you have to practice it consistently and thoughtfully so that it becomes a part of who you are.

This Thanksgiving season, gratitude and thankfulness are at the forefront of our minds which makes this time of year the perfect time to start a new habit. Try starting your day by stating, out loud, three things you are grateful for. For me, I start my days by acknowledging my health first – my ability to get up and move my body. Next, I fill my heart with gratitude for all the unconditional love and support that I get from my friends, my clients and from readers like you. Finally, with more appreciation and admiration than the morning before, I think about how lucky I am for my family including my 38-year marriage to the most amazing man and my hilarious and crazy grandkids that make even the most mundane activities moments I’ll never forget.

As you go through your days, surround yourself with positivity. Befriend those that also actively practice gratitude and you’ll quickly notice that those that do feel more alive, sleep better and express more compassion than those that don’t regularly practice gratitude.

In fact, studies show us that the practice of gratitude can improve immune function. This is especially important during this global crisis since people with compromised immune systems face a high risk of becoming severely ill from viruses. That’s why it’s perhaps more important than ever to focus on gratitude — the practice of noticing and being thankful for what is valuable and meaningful to you.

So, when was the last time that you told those around you that you are grateful for them? Consider who and what blesses your life and soak up that goodness. Did you see or talk to someone today who brings you joy? Take a moment and write down something about that person that you are grateful for. Then share it and ask them what they are grateful for. I bet you’ll have some meaningful conversations. In a time when life is somewhat chaotic, especially this year when many people are struggling with stress, loneliness and anxiety, it’s nice to remember what counts.

As we begin the holidays, I want to say thank you. I understand how busy your life can be and I feel so thankful to be a part of your health for a few minutes each week when you are reading my columns! Here’s something fun to try this Thanksgiving. Create a gratitude jar. Any time you experience a moment of gratitude write it on a piece of paper and put it in the jar. On New Year’s Day, empty the jar and review everything that you wrote. It immediately makes that moment more meaningful and keeps you on the lookout for more.

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