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Self-Care: Practicing Gratitude

Beth Hess - Monday, November 27, 2017
Perhaps you took a few moments to acknowledge what you are thankful for last Thursday or plan to include thankfulness as part of your holiday or year-end reflections. But did you know that when practiced regularly, gratitude is something that can benefit your body and mind?

Studies have shown that the practice of gratitude can:
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Boost your immune system
  • Facilitate more efficient sleep
  • Reduce toxic emotions
  • Increase happiness
Wondering how a simple “thanks” can have such an impact? The practice of gratitude may be a little broader than you might imagine. In one article, the Harvard Medical School defined gratitude and its practice as
"a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature or a higher power."
Practicing gratitude doesn’t have to be time-consuming to be effective. Here are a few ways to incorporate gratitude into your routine:
  • Take note. Take a few minutes at the end of each day, a few days or the week to remember three things you are especially grateful for. If you enjoy keeping journals, start a gratitude journal to record your notes.
  • Thank someone. Write a note to thank someone for the impact they’ve had on you recently. 
  • Pause. As you intentionally take note of the things you are grateful for, pause and take a moment to savor that feeling of gratitude. Let it sink in. 

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