Improve Your Health



Before going any further, click here to listen to Isasnora and her friends celebrate a harvest Thanksgiving.


I am most grateful to the actors - Greg Digieso - King Lovel; Vincent Digieso - Mongous; Joan Hay - Zeynip; Monica Paur - Isasnora; & Ann Wehnert - Lady Rosalind.

A Year of Disappointments


2020 for many has been a year of great disappointments and sorrows thanks to a tiny, tiny virus we call COVID. It has canceled schools, jobs, parties, concerts, vacations, festivals, church, even surgeries! Those who are in nursing homes or hospitals were unable to have visitors. Many businesses have had to adjust around COVID, having employees work from home (maybe your Mom or Dad are working from home). If someone caught the virus, many businesses had to either close or figure out how to manage without the sick employee. Some businesses have gone under because they were unable to stay open during this pandemic. Many who contracted the illness were immensely sick; some have even died.


How do we stay positive in all this negative?


Gratitude. Thankfulness.

When this all started back in March, my mother, who is 88 years old and stuck in her home said, “I’m thankful for my own bathroom.”


What am I thankful for?


What are you thankful for?


Nothing!

Try a little harder! This month is National Gratitude Month . For those of us in the United States it makes sense to have this month in November since we also have a national holiday called Thanksgiving. Gratitude, however, is not a one-day or even a one-month attitude we should adopt.


Every time we say, “Thank you,” these are not just words said to be polite but can help us become healthier. Some scientists have looked at how gratitude affects our minds. One researcher, Doctor Glenn Fox, studied gratitude and found that when we are thankful, we feel better (1). So, if we wish to stop swimming in a river filled with crocodiles of negativity, let’s practice thankfulness.


Gratitude Exercise Program


If thankfulness is a weak muscle, you may have to begin a gratitude exercise program. Turn off all electronic devices. Find a piece of paper and a pencil (crayon, marker, pen – whatever). Sit down. Begin writing or drawing one thing for which you are thankful. Write down another. Continue writing until the ideas dry up.


The next day, do the same thing, but try to come up with different ideas. Maybe a sleepover was canceled due to COVID, but your parents treated you to a special dinner and movie. Do this every day for a month and it will become a habit. People around you will be astonished at how positive you have become.


Another way to strengthen your gratitude muscle is to send out thank you letters or cards.



Dear Grandma: Thank you for being a special Grandma.


Dear Suzy: Thank you for being my friend.


Dear Mr. Bartelotta: Thank you for being my teacher.


It will require finding their mailing address and the cost of a stamp, but thank you cards are wonderful to receive, especially when so many people use email. (If you can't get stamps, then send an email - just remember to say thank you). This is especially thoughtful when someone does something nice for you or gives you a gift.


Keeping the gratitude muscle might also require reminders. People who are on special eating plans might place certain words around the house to keep the diet in the front of their minds. Make “thankful” signs and post them throughout the house. I have a little “thankful” wooden sign on my desk. When I’m feeling a jab of sadness or disappointment, I look at the sign and gradually feel better. These reminders might also come in the form of Apps on your phone or other electronic devices (2).


I remember the day I began my thankfulness exercise program. It was fall, cold, and I was unhappy. My family was heading somewhere in the van, and I thought of something that irritated me. I was about to share my misery but instead began listing in my mind all the things I'm grateful for. Since that moment I have become more positive and happier. True, I still have my moments, but overall my attitude of gratitude has improved my life.


However you increase your gratitude, when you do, you'll begin feeling better. I know, I do!


Thank you for joining me.


Cheers!

References


  1. Fox, G. R., Kaplan, J., Damasio, H., & Damasio, A. (2015, September 16). Neural correlates of gratitude. Retrieved from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01491/full#h2

  2. Lance, J. (2019, May 01). 8 Gratitude Apps to Boost Your Happiness Now. Retrieved from https://positiveroutines.com/gratitude-apps/

2020 Carol L. Paur

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