Mindful Monday: Gratitude

I’ve been focusing this month on holiday coping strategies. Practicing mindfulness provides us with many ways to cope with life’s challenges. If you are interested in more about the connection between mindfulness and gratitude, check out this interview with Jack Kornfield, renowned mindfulness teacher.

Later this week we celebrate Thanksgiving in America. While recognizing this holiday’s problematic origins, I do welcome the encouragement to contemplate and practice gratitude.

Gratitude

What are you grateful for? How hard it can be to focus this in the midst of pain and post traumatic stress! Have you ever felt insulted by a therapist even suggesting such a thing? Trauma therapists do so, not to minimize the significance of your pain, but because we know it is a small but powerful thing that can help foster healing and resiliency.

There is a growing body of research and experience that shows us that taking time to notice and reflect upon even small things we are thankful for can have a profound and wide ranging impact impact. For example, check out Robert Emmons studied those who practice gratitude consistently and found the following benefits:

Physical
• Stronger immune systems
• Less bothered by aches and pains
• Lower blood pressure
• Exercise more and take better care of their health
• Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking

Psychological
• Higher levels of positive emotions
• More alert, alive, and awake
• More joy and pleasure
• More optimism and happiness

Social
• More helpful, generous, and compassionate
• More forgiving
• More outgoing
• Feel less lonely and isolated.

Want to give it a try? You can start by focusing on three things, no matter how small, that you are grateful for today, this Mindful Monday. Feel free to share them here as well!

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