Gift of Gratitude

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The Chase Bjork Foundation started this family and friends reflections blog to provide some help for those struggling and for their loved ones trying to help them.  While there is no one answer, we are hoping that these upcoming collective experiences from others will suggest options for improved health and peace.

Most agree that gratitude is a grounding good practice.  But, lately I have been reading and experiencing how it can be taken to an even deeper level for greater healing.  The science behind appreciation is compelling.  There are seven scientifically proven benefits of gratitude which have been compiled from various sources by Amy Morin, Psychotherapist and international bestselling mental health author:

Opens the door to more relationships
Improves physical health
Greater psychological health
Enhances empathy and reduces aggression
Improves sleep
Enhances self-esteem
Increases mental strength

According to Tamara Levitt, head of mindfulness at the Calm app, we are hardwired from years of evolution to focus on negativity for survival.  While we don’t have the same immediate threats today that our ancestors from the way past had, social media posts and constant advertising has created a state of lack and can evoke feelings that we never have or are enough.  Consciously practicing gratitude can help reprogram us to seek out and see the simple joys in everyday life.  It is not easy and during more during difficult times often can be even more challenging.  Yet is is during these hard and painful times that the practice is even more important.

Tamara suggests starting a gratitude journal. When we write things down it often becomes more poignant.  Here are some of her tips for gratitude journaling.

1. Try starting a journal for 30 consecutive days (this may help truly pattern more appreciation).
2. Write in your journal around the same time every day.
3. Choose ten things and get specific so you aren’t listing the same things every day which can lead to gratitude fatigue.
4. Include how each item made you feel and why (this brings the experience more present and will encourage it in the future).
5. Pick a consistent place where you won’t get interrupted.

Rewiring our thinking to more thankfulness can cultivate greater peace.  Being grateful is a choice.  Practiced deliberately and daily, it can help wake us up to everyday miracles and blessings.  

I hope this brings you some measure of solace as it has helped and continues to curate some peace for me during a most difficult time.

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