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Gratitude isn’t always easy, but I’ve found it paramount in improving not only my own health but my clients’ health as well! Where do I even begin cultivating an attitude of gratitude and feeling thankful?
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” ~William Arthur Ward
I love this quote! And now, science agrees gratitude can positively impact our health:
One recent study from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, found that people who were more grateful actually had better heart health, specifically less inflammation and healthier heart rhythms.
Another study found gratitude boosts immunity. Researchers at the Universities of Utah and Kentucky observed that stressed out law students who characterized themselves as optimistic actually had more disease-fighting cells in their bodies.
Even further, people who keep a gratitude journal have a reduced dietary fat intake — as much as 25 percent lower! Stress hormones, like cortisol, are 23 percent lower in grateful people. And having a daily gratitude practice could actually reduce the effects of aging on the brain.
Research shows that when we think about what we appreciate, the parasympathetic, or calming part of the nervous system, is triggered and that can have protective benefits on the body, including decreased cortisol levels and perhaps increased oxytocin, the bonding hormone involved in relationships that make us feel so good.
If you’re still not feeling the love, gratitude is something you can learn.
How to Start Your Gratitude Journey
- Keep a journal. My amazing friend Marie Houlden has helped me with this one. She suggests to start by writing five things you’re thankful for each day.
- Take care of yourself! If you’re not eating well, which can happen during the holidays, you’re more likely to get in a funk and not be as happy and grateful. Start each day with a nutrient-dense smoothie, stay well-hydrated, take your supplements, and begin to upgrade your holiday menu.
- Move your body daily. Studies show moving helps with mental clarity, which keeps us focused on thankfulness and more physically healthy as well. My advice: Don’t make this a big deal. Walk around the block, have a dance party in your room after your shower, or squat while you brush your teeth. It all counts!
- Join me and some of my favorite blogger friends in a fun, community-filled challenge. See the details below!
I would consider myself to be a thankful person and if you look around my blog, then you know I thoroughly enjoy instilling this value of gratitude in my children. But, something I realized this summer was when things are looking good and going my way I am a thankful person.
It usually sounds something like this: Thank God I got a close parking spot in this horrible rain. Thank God I didn’t have to wait two hours for the doctor to see my son. Thank God he slept through the night. Thank God…
But here’s the thing, I don’t just want to be filled with joy and gratitude when things are good because as you know in motherhood, good can turn to worse–in like SECONDS.
I want to be the kind of person that finds beauty and blessings in the mundane tasks of life and is not swayed by her emotions with every passing situation.
I want to find joy in the everyday drudgery of changing diapers, washing dishes for the 50th time in one day, as I sit in holiday traffic, or stir the pot of soup for kids who will turn up their nose when they see the veggies.
I don’t need to be Maria Von Trapp in Sound of Music and sing and smile my way through every situation because we are not talking about being fake here, but I do want to learn to practice gratitude because it always gives birth to a deep-seeded joy that’s rooted in His love.
Well, I have good news, we can take baby steps together towards being gratitude seekers!
We are constantly surrounded by small miracles. Let’s open our eyes and embrace them.
An Easy Way to Join the Lean Into Gratitude Challenge: A 14-Day Journey of Thankfulness
It’s so easy to complain, grumble, or feel dissatisfied with our given situation, our body, our home, our kids, our food, our job, our significant other, our parents, our school, our friends, and life as we know it.
In an effort to be less of that, and to focus our day on the joy and beauty that surrounds us, we are kicking off a 14-Day Lean Into Gratitude Journey. I want to challenge myself, my family, and you to be more aware of the blessings that surround us each day.
This year, we are kicking off this challenge Lean Into Gratitude: A 14-Day Journey of Thankfulness with five amazing bloggers: Inspired by Family blog, Christ Centered Mama blog, Eileen Kloff blog , Meaningful Mama and Real Nutritious Living blog. Each week, one of us will encourage you to lean into gratitude.
It’s really easy to follow along in this challenge.
- Just ask to join our Facebook page, and in our group, we will give you prompts, ideas, crafts, and recipes to encourage you to go against the tendency to find fault in life.
That’s it! Let’s be gratitude seekers together.
Gratitude always gives birth to joy!
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Melissa Schollaert is a Holistic Health & Nutrition Counselor and founder of Real Nutritious Living. Helping others achieve their health goals to attain their healthiest, happiest life is her greatest ambition.PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. However, I only recommend products or services I have personally used myself and trust. MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: This content is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease, or as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult with your advising physician before starting any treatment for a medical condition. Real Nutritious Living, LLC shall not be held liable or responsible for any misunderstanding or misuse of the information contained on this site or for any loss, damage, or injury caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by any treatment, action, or application of any food or food source discussed on this site.
23 thoughts on “4 Simple, Quick Ways to Be Thankful This Holiday Season”
I started keeping a gratitude journal a few months ago and it’s absolutely transformed my life! Having a positive outlook on all things have been so good for my health and wellbeing.
I’m so amazed at how fast I notice a difference in all areas of my life when I am more grateful!
Such a great reminder! I just wrote a post myself in thankfulness and my tenedencybto be less than thankful. So I was glad to read your post!
Thank you! I appreciate you stopping by 🙂
Moving your body is an interesting perspective on thankfulness I would have never thought of but boy do I find that true! I need to grab a journal – this mom of 3 really little kids thing hasn’t allowed for me to do that and it is important!
I am just over here struggling with one! I find doing it right before bed is working well for me.
Being thankful and seeing the little things is so helpful to a healthy lifestyle, and I definitely agree that by writing it down you start to see even more things to be thankful for!
Yeah, I think writing conditions our brains!
I love Marie … she is AMAZING!!! She’s truly a gift. I love all of your other ideas too.
Yeah, she really is Emily. I have worked through stuff I never thought I could with her (and after so many years and failed attempts elsewhere.) Awe, thank you!
I practice gratitude exercises every day. It will be hard to start, but the more you do them the easier they get!
I agree! I am working on strengthening my gratitude muscle!
A lot of are too busy to stop and remember to give thanks… thank you for writing this post!
You’re welcome! I know I can be too, so it’s been a great reminder!
Thanks for all the wonderful ideas. I need to practice gratitude exercise everyday !
You’re welcome! Me too, me too!
I love this post! SO much to be thankful for. These daily gratitude exercise are really great!
Thank you Cristina!
Thank you for the reminder, as the holidays get so busy it easy to forget to slow down and appreciate the little things.
You’re welcome Stacey! It’s so true!
Although I don’t live in the US I have been fortunate enough to have been invited to a Thanksgiving dinner with a friend. It is such a positive and uplifting celebration of life, love and all things good. It’s so important to stop and reflect how fortunate and just how much we have to be thankful for! Enjoy your holidays with family friends, here in the UK we are in full Christmas swing already (so early!!)
That is so awesome Donna! I hope you enjoy the Thanksgiving celebration as well as Christmas and the holiday season!