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Along The Path

Along the Path is a newsletter created by Coach Marlene Boas, Ph.D., BCC
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Turkey, mashed potatoes, and a heaping side of gratitude

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.  I'm not sure if  it's because of the family get togethers, taking the time to be thankful, or because it's a celebration of food.  I love to cook and nothing makes me happier than feeding people.  When I was a child, Thanksgiving was a significant holiday that was highly valued.  Christmas decorations weren't seen until the turkey leftovers were long gone.  It's a lot different now.  Halloween candy, pumpkins and turkeys are now in the shadow of Christmas decorations.  I can't believe how early consumerism starts and it makes me sad that my favorite holiday is overlooked, diminished, and devalued.  Giving thanks and expressing gratitude is so important, not just on the fourth Thursday of November but something we should celebrate as a regular part of our daily lives.
Cultivating an attitude of gratitude is good for you.  There's been a lot of research that documents the physical, mental, emotional, and social benefits of gratitude.  Did you know that people who find things in everyday life to be grateful for have stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, better sleep and generally take better care of themselves?  It's true according to the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.  Grateful people also have less depression and anxiety, are better able to deal with stress, have increased optimism, and self esteem.  OK, so is this a chicken and egg phenomenon? Are healthy, happy people just more grateful or does gratitude influence their happiness and health. It seems both are true.  If you're one of the lucky ones who came wired with the disposition that sees life as a gift and cherishes it - that's great.  For the others, learning to be grateful can bring you tremendous benefits.  It's well worth retraining your brain and becoming an expert at gratitude.  In addition to the health and psychological benefits, there are also well documented social benefits.  When we experience and express gratitude it strengthens our relationships and protects us from feeling lonely or isolated.  Relationships are a key factor to happiness and gratitude is an important ingredient.
Here are some suggestions to help you cultivate an attitude of gratitude:
  • Look for things to be grateful for. The more you do it the easier it gets. They can be small things like kind words, a simple act, or something far bigger.
  • Keep a gratitude journal. Write down, in detail, the things you find yourself grateful for. Go ahead and wax poetically about your gratitude. It's like pushups for the soul. You don't need to do it every day. A couple times a week is best.
  • Write a letter to someone in your life who is special to you and express why you're grateful for the relationship. Once again, be specific. Then deliver it! It's like a mega dose of vitamins for both of you.
See Marlene's appearance on Pittsburgh Today Live discussing gratitude.

I'm truly grateful you've taken the time to read this and I wish you health, happiness, and peace.
Copyright © 2014, Marlene Boas, All rights reserved.

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