Hurricane Sandy may have come and gone, but the stress of the aftermath still remains. Whether you lost power or something much more devastating, the storm has affected us all in many different ways and is a stark reminder of just how uncertain life can be.
No matter how much we prepare, things do happen. So it seems some of the best ways to prepare for the unexpected is by keeping our inner world strong.
One of the easiest, yet most powerful ways to build inner resilience is to practice gratitude.
I discovered this tool for myself while going through the very stressful and unpredictable nature of infertility. After years of riding this roller coaster, I found myself depressed and fatigued and desperate for a tool. Luckily for me, I found one.
Practicing gratitude is simple to do, takes very little time, and anyone can do it, even your children.
You don’t need to be a spiritual person to practice gratitude, either. In fact, gratitude is becoming a major player in the field of positive psychology.
Research shows that …
People who practice gratitude become 20- 25% happier. (1)
Research also shows us that …
When people actively focus on what they are grateful for, the stress hormone cortisol is reduced by 23%. (2)
… as well as many other health benefits.
While little bit of stress is sometimes a good thing, too much stress can wreak havoc on our bodies and can actually lead to health problems such as autoimmune diseases, obesity and even cancer. So it’s important to find ways to re-balance your body after going through stress, whether it’s the usual everyday stress we’ve become accustomed to accepting, or the bigger stuff like natural disasters.
Here are few suggestions for getting started with gratitude:
- Start keeping a gratitude journal. Everyday, write down 5 things you are grateful for and focus on the feelings you get from thinking about those things. Check out From Gratitude to Bliss: A Journey in Health and Happiness, available at the Dolphin Bookshop in Port Washington.
- Start a dinnertime ritual with your family where each person mentions something they are grateful for.
- Keep a gratitude jar. Write down things you are grateful for on strips of paper and watch them fill up a glass jar. At the end of the week, read them aloud together.
Need more motivation?
- Sign up for the Gratitude Edge 21-Day Challenge, beginning on Thanksgiving. It’s free and only takes 5 minutes a day to complete. Each day you will receive a brief email with instructions for practicing gratitude along with inspirational tips to keep you going. You can sign up here: www.nourishbynature.com (Just enter your email address in the right hand column).
Once you discover the many benefits of practicing gratitude, you’ll find it not only nourishing through tough times, but that it allows you to enjoy the good times even more.
Here’s to good times!
(1)(2) Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make Us Happier, Robert Emmons, Ph.D.