Doris thank for your kind words. It warms my heart to hear that you were able to use the techniques. Hope your dear Mom is doing better.
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Would having Thanksgiving every day improve our health? Yes. But this doesn’t mean heaping our plates full of turkey, gravy, stuffing and pie daily. It means being grateful every day.
One of the special things about Thanksgiving is expressing our gratitude. The holiday reminds us to pause, reflect and see the blessings in our lives.
Can we be grateful every day even when we feel overwhelmed or when upsetting events occur? Yes. That’s when you need an extra dose of gratitude that can give you a new perspective.
Gratitude is an attitude – a sense of appreciation for the gifts in our life. Research shows that practicing gratitude can make you healthier and happier. It improves sleep, boosts immunity and improves relationships. Focusing on blessings can help ward off depression and build resilience in times of stress and grief. While we can’t always choose what happens to us, we can choose how we feel about it.
Some techniques to help you to build your sense of gratitude:
“Look closely and you will find that people are happy because they are grateful. The opposite of gratefulness is just taking everything for granted…The root of joy is gratefulness…It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.” David Steindal-Rast (Benedictine Monk)
We all want to be “happy” but what does that actually mean and what can we do in our daily lives to be happier? Fortunately, researchers have begun to understand what really helps us to be happier and more resilient to life’s challenges.
Sonja Lyubomirsky, a researcher in the field of positive psychology, describes happiness in her 2007 book, The How of Happiness, as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”
How to find happiness
According to Mayoclinic.org “Only a small percentage of the variation in people’s reports of happiness can be explained by differences in their circumstances. It appears that the bulk of what determines happiness is due to personality and—more importantly—thoughts and behaviors that can be changed.”
The good news is that your actions and thoughts can influence your level of happiness. Below are practical activities drawn from scientific studies. Note that all of these take regular practice to be effective:
Gratitude is an attitude – a sense of wonder and appreciation for the gifts in your life. Research shows that practicing gratitude can make you healthier and happier. Focusing on blessings can help ward off depression and build resilience in times of stress and grief.
Here are some techniques to help you to build your sense of gratitude:
Our connection with other people is basic to our happiness. Meaningful relationships boost happiness, cognitive abilities and health.
Compassion is a strong feeling of sympathy and sadness for other people’s suffering and a desire to help.
Research shows that we are born with an inherent sense of compassion that is essential for bonding and connecting with others.
Giving or receiving compassion helps you enjoy better mental and physical health.
Here are some techniques to enhance your compassion:
Feeling a sense of purpose
Studies show that having a sense of purpose enhances happiness.
Living in the moment or mindfulness
· Focus on the present moment. When not in the present, the mind wanders and tends to ruminate on negative thoughts.
· Accept your emotions. It is vital to have an emotional balance. One cannot experience happiness at the expense of avoiding other important emotions, such as fear, sadness, anger or guilt. Accepting these emotions as a part of life help us live a healthier emotional life.
· Look for opportunities to savor the pleasures of everyday life.
· Spend time in nature.
Invest in your happiness today by trying at least one of the techniques. Comment below to let others know how these techniques work for you.
Many relaxation practices use breathing techniques to promote a state of calm. Deep breathing can decrease the effect of stress on your mind and body. It also can slow your heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure. We can’t avoid all the sources of stress in our lives, nor would we want to. But, we can develop healthier ways of responding to them.
During moments of stress, your thoughts may be drawn toward past regrets and worries about the future. Thankfully, you possess a readily accessible and free tool that can be used to manage stress right under your nose— your breath. Breathing can be your anchor to stay in the present moment -–in the here and now. Although breathing is something your body does naturally, it’s also a skill that can be enhanced.
There are two basic types of breathing:
Diaphragmatic breathing Tips
Pursed lip breathing will help you develop diaphragmatic breathing.
Place one hand on your upper chest and your other hand below your rib cage. This will allow you to feel your diaphragm move as you breathe.
Now breathe in and out through the nose. Find a breathing rate that is comfortable for you.
Caution: Some people get dizzy the first few times they try deep breathing. If you become lightheaded, slow your breathing or temporarily discontinue the breathing exercise and try again at another time.
How often should I practice this exercise?
Practice belly breathing about 5-10 minutes per day.
This type of daily practice makes it easier to use the breathing technique when stressful situations arise.
You can use this breathing any time, but especially when you are upset, anxious, have difficulty sleeping, or are experiencing pain. Try it now!