Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

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PUBLIC PAGE
Nov 20, 2018

Gratitude Changes Everything

By Michelle Graff-Radford, HABIT Yoga Instructor, @michellegraffradford

Give Thanks

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:

  • Start The Day With Gratitude. As soon as you wake up, before you get out of bed, practice gratitude. Take a few deep breaths and think about three people in your life that you are grateful for. While breathing in slowly and deeply, visualize the first person. Then send him or her your silent gratitude as you breathe out. Repeat the exercise with each person. To remind you to do this practice, write a sticky note with the word “Gratitude” on it and post it in your bathroom or put it in your calendar.
  • Keep A Gratitude Journal. Studies suggest that writing in a gratitude journal one to three times per week might actually have a greater impact on our happiness than journaling every day. Write down three things for which you feel grateful. The things you list can be relatively small in importance, such as someone opening the door for you or feeling a breeze on your face. The goal of the exercise is to remember a good event, experience or people in your life—then savor the positive emotions that come with it. Write down how these events made you feel at the time and how this event makes you feel now.
  • Count Your Blessings, Not Sheep. Before going to sleep or if you awaken during the night and can't sleep, review the things you have done that day and the people in your life and look for moments that make you realize how fortunate you are.

“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)

 

Meet others talking about how they incorporate gratitude into daily life in the gratitude discussion.

Welcome to every one of you! So happy to be here in the middle of all of this Gratitude. Today when I checked in here, I was feeling grateful that my next door neighbor came over with hot popovers for breakfast. It was such a happy start to the day! Then I read the post by @damlady2 about her granddaughter and I could just feel the huge magnitude of HER gratitude. It really made me realize how uplifting it can be to share the moments that really fill us with true thanksgiving. So let's start sharing those moments here with each other. Whether you are grateful for a delicious popover, some little kind word or action, or some really great accomplishment or gift – big or small – let's share! I have a hunch this is going to be a REALLY inspiring Thanksgiving weekend. PS: I'm going to an Arts & Crafts Festival in town today and I'm planning to buy my Gratitude journal!

COMMENT
@debbraw

Welcome to every one of you! So happy to be here in the middle of all of this Gratitude. Today when I checked in here, I was feeling grateful that my next door neighbor came over with hot popovers for breakfast. It was such a happy start to the day! Then I read the post by @damlady2 about her granddaughter and I could just feel the huge magnitude of HER gratitude. It really made me realize how uplifting it can be to share the moments that really fill us with true thanksgiving. So let's start sharing those moments here with each other. Whether you are grateful for a delicious popover, some little kind word or action, or some really great accomplishment or gift – big or small – let's share! I have a hunch this is going to be a REALLY inspiring Thanksgiving weekend. PS: I'm going to an Arts & Crafts Festival in town today and I'm planning to buy my Gratitude journal!

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@debbraw A few weeks ago I was in a local arts and crafts store, and came across a small book called "The Positive Journal" by Nancy F. Clark. A 365 day journal, taking 5 minutes or so a day, to make you think, reflect, and bring more positivity to your life. Tomorrow will be the end of week 7; I have missed only 2 days. Usually done each morning first thing, it is helping me focus. This, plus CBD oil, Zentangle, and making a big effort to tame my thoughts, is making a difference for me. Even my husband notices! And heaven knows I have many blank books so a gratitude journal can easily be created. So glad to be here. My gratitude today is watching my cat curled into herself, trusting me to hold the world at bay, while husband has gone out to breakfast with his long-time friend.
Ginger

COMMENT

Well you guys, you dragged me in…I’m horrible at this.
I’m currently with mom at the hospital. She, thank God, only has a UTI. I say it that way because this can be treated. She was shaking from head to toe at home for the longest time and unresponsive. I only could remember Michelle deep breathing lessons when we took yoga at Habit. I am grateful she showed us how to do it. With this lesson, I was able to calm her down. It even calmed me down. Thanks so much Michelle. I felt you were there soothing us with your calmness. We are spending the night at the hospital since mom is under observation. Love to read all of the postings.

COMMENT
@dorisa

Well you guys, you dragged me in…I’m horrible at this.
I’m currently with mom at the hospital. She, thank God, only has a UTI. I say it that way because this can be treated. She was shaking from head to toe at home for the longest time and unresponsive. I only could remember Michelle deep breathing lessons when we took yoga at Habit. I am grateful she showed us how to do it. With this lesson, I was able to calm her down. It even calmed me down. Thanks so much Michelle. I felt you were there soothing us with your calmness. We are spending the night at the hospital since mom is under observation. Love to read all of the postings.

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I beg to differ with you, @dorisa. You are great at this! Your post about gratefulness while in the hospital with your mom was just perfect! Welcome to the Grateful Group of Connect.

COMMENT

Hey Gratitude friends, It turns out this blogspot page may not be the best space for us to start our Gratitude Discussion Group so I'm trying to move us over to another group where we have plenty of room to talk about our Gratitude Journey. @hopeful33250, @providence1960, @jodeej, @damlady2, @gingerw, @snagulpuss, @sarah49, @marilyncko, @reenj62, and @dorisa – will you join me over here to kick off our Gratitude Group? Please click on the link below, and if I left out anyone or you know someone who wants to join us, invite them!
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/gratitude-discussion-group/
I'm so thrilled that we are getting off to such a good start. Thanks to all – and I'll see you over in the other group soon.

COMMENT
@damlady2

I Needed .this. My 13 year old beautiful granddaughter was not successful in her suicide attempt and for that I am grateful. After being in a Mentak Behavior hospital for 3 weeks she was just released to residence care. I am so very grateful I got to visit her on a Thanksgiving Eve. I hugged her and told her how much I love her. She is on her way to recovery but it will take time . I am so very grateful for her. She is my only ganddaughter was trying to b perfect with good grades and all the activities in school. She had some setbacks and could not handle it. I am grateful for her.

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@damlady2, mental health and teens – it is so hard to watch them struggle. I can imagine how special that hug was to both of you. She may not be able to always show how much she loves your love, but I'm confident that she relies on its unwavering steadfastness.

COMMENT

Too often I become distressed with the things I cannot control. Focusing on the many good things has given me a better perspective. This was an excellent Thanksgiving reminder.

COMMENT
@trueblue18

Too often I become distressed with the things I cannot control. Focusing on the many good things has given me a better perspective. This was an excellent Thanksgiving reminder.

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Hi @trueblue18 – Welcome to Connect! I'm with you on getting stressed over things I can't control – and sometimes can't even influence. Glad this was a good reminder. Will you join us in the Gratitude Discussion Group at the link below? Would love to have your positive energy over there!
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/gratitude-discussion-group/

COMMENT
@debbraw

@michellegraffradford – Thank you. This is beautiful. I'm not really big on this kind of thing but I am going to print this off and try it for a month… okay, let's say til the end of the year. You have inspired me.

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I used this Grateful technique for 8yrs thks to Oprah.
It really does chg the balance of feeling constantly troubled or stressed & helps U find the goodness in our lives.
*I’m going to jump start that again after a 2yr break…U should try it too. U might be quite surprised❗️👏

COMMENT
@panache

I used this Grateful technique for 8yrs thks to Oprah.
It really does chg the balance of feeling constantly troubled or stressed & helps U find the goodness in our lives.
*I’m going to jump start that again after a 2yr break…U should try it too. U might be quite surprised❗️👏

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@panache – Welcome to Connect! Our gratitude discussion got so big, we needed to move it to a new space. Will you come and join us over at our new space? Click this link. And I hope you will tell us more about the Grateful technique from Oprah!
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/gratitude-discussion-group/

COMMENT

I'm not sure I know about the Grateful Technique from Oprah. I think I'm supposed to start the day focusing on the good things in my life instead of the usual worries about money, health, etc. It's difficult to think positive around here (suburban Chicago) at this time of year.
We had a terrible snowstorm Sunday/Monday that left mounds of snow everywhere and made driving difficult, if not impossible for me.
I'm an older woman who lives alone, and had to pay someone to clear off my car and move it out of the snowbanks.
But, I am fortunate that I did not lose power. My condo stayed toastie warm, and the roads cleared up yesterday and I could get around easily.
I just get so sad in winter. I hate the long, gray days, and the difficulty in walking outdoors due to the icey sidewalks. I wish winter did not exist.
So I'm grateful for some things but I need to stop obsessing over the things I cannot change.

COMMENT
@trueblue18

I'm not sure I know about the Grateful Technique from Oprah. I think I'm supposed to start the day focusing on the good things in my life instead of the usual worries about money, health, etc. It's difficult to think positive around here (suburban Chicago) at this time of year.
We had a terrible snowstorm Sunday/Monday that left mounds of snow everywhere and made driving difficult, if not impossible for me.
I'm an older woman who lives alone, and had to pay someone to clear off my car and move it out of the snowbanks.
But, I am fortunate that I did not lose power. My condo stayed toastie warm, and the roads cleared up yesterday and I could get around easily.
I just get so sad in winter. I hate the long, gray days, and the difficulty in walking outdoors due to the icey sidewalks. I wish winter did not exist.
So I'm grateful for some things but I need to stop obsessing over the things I cannot change.

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I'm glad you didn't lose your utilities. That, I'm sure, was at the top of your gratitude list.
Chicago is one of those northern cities that make getting through the winter's grey, dreary days difficult. Have you talked to your doctor about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)? There is info on Mayo Connect that can tell you more about it to see if this is a pattern that fits your experience. If so, starting your morning with the right lighting while you write in your Gratitude book can make your day so much better.
Wishing you a sunny day!

COMMENT
@trueblue18

I'm not sure I know about the Grateful Technique from Oprah. I think I'm supposed to start the day focusing on the good things in my life instead of the usual worries about money, health, etc. It's difficult to think positive around here (suburban Chicago) at this time of year.
We had a terrible snowstorm Sunday/Monday that left mounds of snow everywhere and made driving difficult, if not impossible for me.
I'm an older woman who lives alone, and had to pay someone to clear off my car and move it out of the snowbanks.
But, I am fortunate that I did not lose power. My condo stayed toastie warm, and the roads cleared up yesterday and I could get around easily.
I just get so sad in winter. I hate the long, gray days, and the difficulty in walking outdoors due to the icey sidewalks. I wish winter did not exist.
So I'm grateful for some things but I need to stop obsessing over the things I cannot change.

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Hi @trueblue18 – that winter storm does sound difficult, but like @pearlbaby7 – I'm sure that retaining your electrical power and heat topped your gratitude list! On another subject, I'm sure it may have been confusing – I didn't mean to ask you about the Oprah technique… I meant to ask someone else. I'm hoping you will come over to our Gratitude Discussion Group to chat more. To join us there, just click this link:
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/gratitude-discussion-group/

COMMENT
@debbraw

@hopeful33250 – Teresa, by all means, please join me. We'll have a Gratitude Group! Any others want to do it?

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@debraw absolutely I have been doing this before I get out of bed for along time.First person I'm grateful for and thank is God for a good night sleep .Im grateful for my son and grandson .

COMMENT
@debbraw

@michellegraffradford – Thank you. This is beautiful. I'm not really big on this kind of thing but I am going to print this off and try it for a month… okay, let's say til the end of the year. You have inspired me.

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Debbra thank you for your kind comments. I look forward to hearing about your experiences.

COMMENT
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